D&D Bridge Puzzles: Crossing the Abyss

Ever since Gandalf stood up against the Balrog, bridges in Dungeons and Dragons have fascinated us. They are the narrowest of connections between one realm and the next. And to cross over, players must follow this perilous path or fall into the abyss forever. Or they can just take a tumble into a babbling brook. Your choice.

Because we can’t have Gandalf appear on every bridge players cross, we will use puzzles instead. Players usually can’t avoid using a bridge if they wish to cross over. And by combining a bridge with a puzzle they can’t avoid the puzzle either. 

This, of course, does mean that we have to be very careful to only use puzzles that can be solved. You don’t want your players to become stuck and have the story grind to a halt. And it also means you’ll have to use puzzles that players enjoy and that match the bridge theme. 

We like to bridge use puzzles in two ways:

  1. Solving a puzzle allows PCs to cross a bridge or makes a bridge appear.
  2. The puzzle is the bridge. And the puzzle pieces make up the stones of a bridge.

Using a Puzzle to Summon a D&D Bridge 

For our first idea, we like to use Laser Puzzles, available in our webshop.

With this puzzle, instead of having just one bridge cross a chasm, you can create an entire network of bridges leading in different directions. 

Envision a pitch-black canyon of magical darkness. The PCs are standing near its edge and see a small puzzle on a pedestal. Four-headed lion headpieces, about the size of chess pieces, are cemented to the stone and cannot be moved. They each have a number on top of their heads. A closer examination reveals that the paws of these small pieces are levers. And if a PC presses a paw, a laser shoots out from the corresponding eye in horizontal or vertical direction, depending on which way the lion head was facing. 

If the laser connects with another lion head the laser beam becomes stable. And the players can see a much larger laser shoot across the canyon between two corresponding lion heads on a much greater scale. But the light of the laser is still too weak to reveal a path underneath. Only when PCs connect all the lasers the correct way do the lasers shine bright enough to reveal the path through the magical darkness.

With Laser Puzzles you can create a massive canyon with little islands and multiple puzzles and bridges leading in different directions. They could even present a way to travel through the abyss or shadowfell. Your choice.


How to Use Bridge Puzzles to Build a Bridge

For our second idea, we like to use Runestone Puzzles, available in our webshop. 

With Runestone Puzzles you can create your own puzzle design. And one option is to lay out floating runestones in a string (like domino’s). 

So you can start out with a rune-covered steppingstone on each side of a ravine and give the players all other runestones to create a bridge. But the floatation magic only works if the rune symbols on each rune match with the previous stone. 

So players lay the first stone by matching its symbol with the anchor stone on their side of the ravine. Next, they can walk onto the floating stone they just laid to place the next stone and so on. Of course, as they progress and they have fewer stones to work with, finding matching symbols becomes increasingly difficult. So they will have to plan out how they place stones very carefully. 

And then there’s the fact that floating stones are very wobbly and it’s easy to slide off. And there’s also the dragon interfering while they try to solve the bridge puzzle. Or maybe not. Your choice. 

Other D&D Puzzles That Work Great With Bridges

Dungeon Puzzles

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.

You can use dungeon puzzles as a massive bridge if you lay out the pieces as three rows that span your entire gaming table. Who says a bridge has only one path to the other side? This is a magical world and having a massive bridge that spans your entire gaming table is certainly something your players haven’t seen before.

Lock Puzzles

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.

One way to use lock puzzles with a bridge is to set up a series of pillars that support the bridge. On each pillar the players find a lock puzzle. When they solve the first puzzle a piece of the bridge leading to the next pillar apears. This allows them to reach the next puzzle and solve it. And so on.

All these puzzles are available as individual packs in our webshop. But if you are interested in even more puzzles be sure to check out our Puzzle Bundle. It contains hundreds of puzzles for your D&D game. Many of which you can easily adapt to use as a bridge puzzle. 

Dark Ulf – Putting Puzzles into D&D games since 2009

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.