• Justin Handlin

Puzzles, Predicaments, and Perplexities

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Listen: Eps 159

Watch Live 2/23/20 7pm Est

Adventurers will find themselves tested in many ways during their careers seeking fame, fortune, justice, and truth. Some of these tests will challenge their strength, agility, spellcasting knowledge, and combat skills. Other encounters will require diplomacy, conversation, observation skills, and social interaction. A rare challenge provides elements of both and requires deeper thinking and analysis. Such puzzles are meant to guard treasure and secrets, and present a unique challenge to characters and players. They also suggest a worthy reward lies on the other side.

In this episode we discuss Puzzles, Predicaments, and Perplexities a collection of logic puzzles, brain teasers, and encoded sequences intended to test the problem solving and deductive reasoning of characters and players. These puzzles are designed to be easily placed into any adventure with no additional work, yet also provide guidance on how Dungeon Masters can customize the details to best fit into their own campaigns.

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Puzzles, Predicaments, and Perplexities and Puzzles, Predicaments, and Perplexities II

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Crit Nation, thanks for joining us today here at the “Crit Academy” studios where everything is made up and your rolls don’t matter. Yup, that’s right; your rolls are like a puzzle without a solution.

Segment: Crit Nation Feedback: Let’s talk about Blank! (Answer questions!)

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Main Topic:

Puzzles, Predicaments, and Perplexities and Puzzles, Predicaments, and Perplexities II

Perplexity Rating and Scaling Puzzle Difficulty

The Skeleton Court

Three skeletons sit upon thrones facing the center of the room. Gemstones rest in their empty eye sockets. Before them are three small wooden chests on raised pedestals. The corpse of an unfortunate adventurer lies crumpled on the ground in the center of the room. Several arrows protrude from the body. The skeletons silently watch as events unfold before them, waiting to judge the actions of those who dare enter the chamber. Those who present the expected tributes will be rewarded. Those who fail will be punished.

Tales from the Crypt

A powerful magic golden scepter was buried in the crypt of the adventurers who retrieved it many years ago. A new threat requires the retrieval of this item. But the adventurers did not leave it unguarded. The party will have to gather clues and piece them together in order to solve the riddle of the crypt and prove themselves worthy of the legendary artifact.

To Tell the Truth

There has been a murder in a small town. Residents of the town swear they saw Boris, a local food vendor, near the scene of the crime. The local wizarding police set out and arrested Boris. The only issue is somehow they’ve arrested three versions of him. Clearly two of them are murderous doppelgangers, and one of them is the innocent Boris. During the interrogation of the suspects, a rookie wizard’s truth spell malfunctioned. Now each Boris is stuck in a trance-like state and can only say one line, and only one of them is telling the truth. With the townspeople demanding justice, the wizarding police have no choice but to start the executions. Only fate can save the innocent Boris at this point. You are that fate.

The Adventures included are very well fleshed out and make great use of some of the puzzles found in the book.

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Segment: Unearthed Tips and Tricks! (We give you creative content for your next adventure)

Character Concept:

Rosari Utheraki

A fierce warrior with long purple hair dyed by the rare moxi flower that grows at the top of the island mountain range. She was born and raised on a floating island of warrior women known as Amazons. Their entire culture is based on strength before weakness. They believe that men are weak as they give into their emotions; anger, greed, jealousy. This weakness is why she despises most men.

Rosari was never the strongest of her sisters. While she has an athletic build, her gifts lie elsewhere from brute strength like many of the strongest Amazons. This often put her at odds growing up with her sisters, as they teased and laughed at her expense at her weakness.

While others spent their free time resting and fooling around, she continued her education beyond that which was required, leading her to become an expert marksman, as well as earning the ire of her Den Sisters for always outsmarting them and making them look a fool.

This life that leads away from strength leads to betrayal by her den sisters.

Monster Variant:


Lackeys are the weakest members in a band of bandits or small groups of crooks. They are weak and have little or no skills, but can be fiercely loyal to a powerful or charismatic leader. Though, once their leader is taken out, they are just as likely to run away as they are to try and gut you.

Origin: Noble

Replace breast plate with leather armor - 12 AC

Change rapier to short sword

Change parry to - Fight Dirty- Throwing dust in the enemies eyes, or

Pact Tactics. The lackey has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the lackey's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.


PC’s are hired to seek out a missing adventurer and recover them or evidence of their demise. During the investigation they not only do they learn the location of the adventurer, but evidence suggests that they are dead. But their corpse is nowhere to be found. They finally track down the corpse and find it impaled on spikes atop an oversized cadaver collector.

Magic Item:

The Lost Lantern of Leonara (Puzzles, Predicaments, and Perplexities II)

Wondrous Item, legendary (requires attunement)

The lantern has 10 charges. While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it, using your spell save DC: light (1 charge), dancing lights (1 charge), branding smite (2 charges), guiding bolt (1 charge), dawn (5 charges), wall of light (5 charges), sunbeam (6 charges), or sunburst (8 charges). Undead targets have disadvantage on saving throws against these spells.

The staff regains 1d6 + 4 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the lantern blackens, turns to dust, and is destroyed.

Dungeon Master Tip:

Use magic spells for adventure and encounter designs. Examples:

Magic Jar allows a caster to lock their soul into a container until dispelled, while doing so they lose control of their own body, but can instead possess other humanoids within 100 feet, locking their soul inside. This could make for great shenanigans, trapping another players soul inside without the party knowing.

Guards and Wards effects a large area to cause foggy areas that confuses the directional senses of those trapped inside, auto filling stairs with webs that stitch themselves back together making it appear as nobody has passed through.

Magic Mouth and Programmed Illusion are also great as you can have canned responses based on a condition.

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick! You can avoid dickitude by…

Mark of your Pact!

When your warlock makes a pact with their patron, allow some residual effect to indicate the pact.

Pact with a fiend may leave your eyes bloody, or your teeth charred black.

Pact made with archfey may cause flowers to bloom upon your passing, or small critters to be drawn to you. (like a disney princess maybe).

Making a pact with a celestial may turn all water you bathe in, into blessed holy water, or into wine.

Closing: Please join us on our next episode. We will be discussing The Ettinling Package a Two-Player Race Option!

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Keep your blades sharp and spells prepared heroes!

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