Puzzle: The Mirror of Life Trapping

The Mirror of Life Trapping Heist

This blog post is described in greater detail on the most recent episode of Running off the Rails where we describe the key elements of a fun TTRPG puzzle.

The Vault

The players find out that an artifact has been stolen by a guild of criminals for hire. Perhaps they have posted in the townsquare to boast of it. A heist of this difficulty will bring them all kinds of new business opportunities. And the publicity will help them jack up the price of the stolen good.

Intro: players have come to town to earn/buy the Mirror from The First Lady


Lock 1: Find the Thieves

The players don’t know anyone from this guild. And the guild is careful to take on new customers for such an expensive item. They want to sell to someone trustworthy.

  • Possible keys
  • Ask about who put the flyers up
  • Ask about the guild and detect thoughts
  • Convince someone you have business with the thieves
  • Charm Person
  • Find the code in the flier, to get the thieves’ hand signal
  • (zoomed in and highlighted so you can see) The symbol is in thief’s cant. Players that don’t know thieve’s cant can still find the symbol with a high investigation, but need to find someone to tell them what it means.
    (Perhapsnitially give a very dark handout. Can then give handout with lighter color after an investigation check)


Lock 2: Discover the Hideout

The artifact is stashed in the guild’s hideout

Possible keys (friendly, foe-y, sneaky):

  • The players find a member of the guild
  • They capture and interrogate them
  • Add a puzzle to the interrogation? The person bites their own tongue so they can’t speak
  • They follow them to the hideout
  • They detect their thoughts
  • The players don’t find a member of the guild, but someone else with a vendetta against them

Lock 3 & 4 (and maybe 5): The Magic Door

The password is a pangram (a phrase where every letter of the alphabet appears at least once). With this knowledge, the players can slowly deduce the password.

The entrance to the guild’s hideout is a magic door that only opens when you speak the password.

Outside the door you see a shimmering light (faerie fire), illuminating any invisible creatures in the area.

(Maybe have arrowslits in the walls that could give a guild member line of sight to the door)

Possible keys
  • Overhear a thieves’ guild member saying the password
  • Overhearing some of the password. Incomplete password they hear is: “Waltz bad nymph, fu-ick jigs-ex” Waltz, bad nymph, f__ __ick jigs _ex
  • The full password is: Waltz, bad nymph, for quick jigs vex
  • I used a pangram, but maybe it’s the guildmaster’s dog’s name. Or their sister’s birthday.
  • Impersonating a thief
  • Misty step/Dimension Door in
  • Can find a pangram on a notepad in the thieves den, to open the door back up

Lock 6: Finding the Mirror of Life Trapping

There are five mirrors on the wall of the room, arranged in a semi-circular pattern, almost like a trifold vanity mirror, so that all the mirrors show your reflection when you stand in front of them. (The first person that looks at the Mirror of Life Trapping, has to make a CHA save or get trapped in the mirror. How do you choose the right one? (Also I’d assume some guild members are inside the hideout, but be careful with TPK/all combat)

Possible keys

  • Give a handout where they all have something inscribed on them and you have to pick out the forgeries
  • Can give different handouts based on investigation role. (The forgeries have 10 mistakes. “You rolled an 8? Ooh, okay. Then you get this handout.
  • That’s all you’re able to find.” Give them a handout with only 4/10 of the mistakes)
  • Detect magic
  • Hold the mirrors and see which is the heaviest

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