Earlier today I posted the entrance to Zemail’s shrine. The final obstacle to gain entry to the lower chambers of the shrine was a puzzle door in the floor of the hollowed mighty oak. To notice the hidden trap door under the water requires a perception of 7, after the reduction in noticeability due to water over it, about 1 per inch. This means that the average person has a 50% chance of noticing it under 3 inches of water when right on top of it. Those with levels in perception will have more chance of noticing it through the water. With the water sufficiently drained and with a perception score high enough, the party will notice the following puzzle:
An understand artifact score of 30 or higher reveals that the ring between the outer ring and the center circle can rotate freely. A slightly higher score of 50 or higher reveals that when the rectangles are aligned, the sections can be flipped to exchange the inner and outer tile. Direct attempts to do these things also reveals they can be done.
If the players do not immediately understand how to solve the puzzle, a connected riddle can be obtained from Arcane Knowledge, using Speak to Plant to inquire of any of the plants inside the trunk, including the tree itself, using Natural Empathy to know the memories of these plants, or praying to Zemail for help with the puzzle. The can be obtained entire or in parts and is as follows:In Zemail’s wild wood A cycle is maintained For the wild life’s good The forest ground blood stained. Though by the living cost Is the tender heart pained By creatures so lost Do others larger live on. If the masked bandit crossed With the mother falcon, She’d be more than his match. But he pilfers the eggs, alone, She seeking a serpent to snatch.
Then in desperate hunt the wily red Will in sharp jaws the bandit catch, But fall when by the pack hunted. And great lumbering bear, Stronger than them all , Falls prey still to wheat and tare.
Arcane Knowledge checks reveal (in order) two lines of the poem for each 10 points above 80, with character’s reasonably expected to have knowledge of Zemail gaining a bonus between 10 and 50 (a dedicated worshiper of Zemail gets +50, a deistic scholar +20, a somewhat religious huntsman or druid +10, ACSD). All but the last three lines can be learned in this way. Only one arcane knowledge check is made per character, all characters start from the beginning of the poem, so to get the first 16 lines, a single character must score 160 or higher. Other character’s than the highest scoring only serve as confirmation. A score lower than 50 can result in misinformation such as “In Zemail’s wild wood/ The hunter becomes the hunted.”
Speaking to Plants inside the trunk can reveal the first 16 lines, and they are easy to persuade into telling them. However, the only way to obtain the whole riddle with the last three lines is to ask Zemail. Her response will depend on her mood, the inquirer’s station in her good favor, and the inquirer’s level in prayer.
With the animals arranged in the proper food chain: seeds, mouse, snake, falcon, racoon, fox, wolf, bear, around the center circle counter-clockwise with their proper connecting tiles between them and the seeds at the point of the head of grain, the floor will drop down into a spiral (kind of) stair case leading down into the shrine proper. Stay tuned next week for the rest of the shrine.
What did you think of a puzzle post? How about how we handled it? Would you like the solution to be held back more so you could solve it yourself? Or would you like the solution up front before explaining how to reach it? Let us know in the comments below!