Dungeons & Dragons is mostly played in the theatre of the mind. And DMs must conjure up a whole world by using their words and imagination. That’s a very tall order. So every chance you get to use props in your D&D game makes your life easier. And using puzzle props is the perfect opportunity for using props to spark your players’ imagination.
In this article, we’ll look at the best puzzles props for your game. First up, store-bought props:
Store-bought D&D Puzzle Props
There really aren’t any store-bought puzzle props that were specifically designed for D&D. But for the sake of completeness, let’s discuss some options anyway.
The most common D&D puzzle prop is the Cryptex. You can buy this one at bigger stores for about 30 dollars.
A pro of this puzzle is that it has replay value because you can program it for different code words. A con of this puzzle is that it isn’t really a puzzle! Think about it. Players must first solve an actual puzzle to get a code word which they then use with the cryptex. But you still have to come up with the puzzle yourself. That’s a lot of money for something that doesn’t even provide you with a real puzzle.
Another type of common D&D Puzzle Props is wire props. The biggest pro is that they are cheaper than the cryptex. You can get a set of these for about 25 dollars which is still pricey in our opinion. The cons however are many. For one, these puzzles don’t match any D&D theme. Another con would be the lack of replay value. But the biggest con is that only one player can try to solve this puzzle at a time. So in practice, you get one player at your table focusing on the puzzle while the others start checking their phone.
The next type of store-bought puzzle props is flasks. These are 35 dollars on Amazon. The biggest pro is that they look fantastic and you can certainly get creative with all the liquids you can fill these with. The biggest con again is that this isn’t actually a puzzle. You need to come up with one yourself. And the price tag is a little hefty.
We’re not crazy about the general store-bought options as they are expensive and in many cases, not even a real puzzle. The alternative? Printable D&D puzzle props.
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Printable D&D Puzzle Props
Full disclosure. We are absolutely biased when it comes to using printable props for D&D puzzles. In fact, after seeing these puzzles we chose to become an affiliate. But then again, we could have become an affiliate for the props we’ve shown you as well and chose not to because we don’t believe they are worth the money. But please, judge for yourself.
Here are some photo’s of printed puzzle props for our D&D game:
These are 2 by 2-inch cards for use with several puzzles and mini-games.
(With my hand for size reference).
These puzzle pieces are from a printable puzzle pack called Floor puzzles. It contains 20 puzzles for $4.99 USD (which comes to about $0.25 USD per puzzle.) The puzzles have been designed for cooperative play and allow multiple D&D players to work on the puzzle simultaneously. Also, they come with lots of suggestions for integrating them into your D&D game and extra images for virtual tabletop play.
Still think that’s too expensive? Check out the Puzzle Bundle.
This is the largest set of printable D&D puzzle props in the world. You get over 200 puzzles and the means to create even more. And the price is only $19.99 USD. That’s crazy value for money. Especially considering these were all designed with D&D in mind. Compare that to the store-bought stuff.
With the Puzzle Bundle, you pay about $0.10 USD per puzzle. But if you still think that’s too expensive there’s also the Vault Bundle. With this bundle, you get everything in the Puzzle Bundle and two more Bundles of about equal size with different D&D-related products for $29,99 USD. So that’s about $10 USD per bundle which brings the price per puzzle down to about $0.037 USD.
Of course, these are the prices at the time of writing this article. For the most recent prices check here. But we challenge anyone to find a source of illustrated D&D puzzle props of such high quality for that price. You can see why we’re biased.
Find the Perfect D&D Puzzle Props
Here are some suggestions for perfect D&D puzzle props that are all in the Puzzle bundle:
Lock Puzzles can be placed onto doors, ancient tomes, chests, and anything else you wish to secure really. The system is brilliantly easy to use and set up.
The pack comes with nine basic puzzles that each have three pieces. If you wish to create an easy challenge, just place one basic puzzle on a door. But start combining these basic puzzles, and they become increasingly difficult to solve. For intstance, if you place all nine puzzles on the same door the average group might spend about half an hour solving the puzzle. Place a single basic puzzle on a door and they’ll solve it in seconds. Oh, did we mention there are over 500 ways to combine these nine basic puzzles? So don’t worry about replay value! Door puzzles comes in printable and VTT format.
Potion Puzzles took us by surprise. We were expecting a series of simple potion themed puzzles. What we got was a puzzle system that can also double as a complete system for creating magical items in your world. But you don’t have to. Potion Puzzles gives you all the creative control as a DM while adding a massive amount of flavour.
Collecting ingredients, finding potion formulas, and brewing perfumes, dyes, polishes, inks, and of course potions are all a part of solving the puzzle. You can sprinkle ingredients and formulas throughout your campaign. When your players manage to solve the puzzle, create their very own potion and use it, it’s much more significant to the story.
Magical inks can be used for scrolls, dyes for creating magical robes and so on. In short, we got more with this potion puzzles then we thought possible with such an elegant system.
Dungeon Puzzles can change your entire dungeon into one big puzzle. Hallways, rooms, crossroads, and so on all become pieces of the puzzle. While players are laying out this puzzle and solving it, they are also creating the dungeon map you can immediately play on!
But that’s not all. This the Dungeon Puzzles pack also contains cave pieces and more puzzle pieces that you can place inside your dungeon or cave. Puzzles within puzzles.
Another highlight of Dungeon Puzzles is that all players can work at solving the puzzle at the same time. And it doesn’t matter which side of the table you are sitting on because the puzzle pieces can be viewed from all sides.
While the pack comes with 25 premade puzzles, you can create an infinite amount of puzzles and dungeon layouts. And there’s no limit to the size of your puzzle setups. It’s really a complete puzzle system. The pieces come in VTT and printable format. This pack offers a crazy amount of value for money.
Door Puzzles can be placed onto any door to instantly change it into a challenging puzzle. You simply pick a puzzle from the stack of 20 premade setups, hand your players the key pieces and sit back while they solve the challenge. Of all the puzzles we’ve seen this one is among the easiest for DMs to setup. Door puzzles comes in printable and VTT format.
The rules are simple. Each puzzle door has a grid and a number of pegs. Players must place the key pieces over the pegs to fill out the grid. Sounds simple enough right? But the hard part is that players get ALL the key pieces to choose from. And selecting the right combination requires a lot of logical reasoning.
We found door puzzles has a nice flow of discoveries. And players can work at solving it simultaneously. You can also view this puzzle from all sides which comes in very handy if your players are sitting around the table. Finally, you can create your own puzzles with this system. So you can create an infinite amount of puzzles if you wish.
All the mentioned puzzles and many more are in the Puzzle Bundle. So be sure to check it out!
These are just a couple of printable or VTT illustrated puzzles you can use as props that are in the puzzle bundle. For the whole selection, please click here to visit our shop.
Dark Ulf is the founder and editor of DNDpuzzles.com. When not writing for DNDpuzzles he travels the multiverse and destroys demons with a crossbow in one hand and a crossword in the other.
We hope this site inspires you to put more puzzles into your D&D games.