Placing your party of adventurers in a wintery snow land comes with all kinds of dangers. Snowstorms, avalanches, ice golems, and whatnot. But not all challenges need to be dangerous and it’s not all about having the highest constitution score.
A good ice or snow puzzle can liven up your arctic D&D campaign in ways that other challenges just can’t. In fact, you can even build your adventure around your puzzle setup. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
How to Use Ice Puzzles Once Winter has Come
For our first idea, we’ll use Rune Puzzles, which is available in our webshop. The great thing about this puzzle is that it goes with ANY theme, including a snowy environment.
These puzzles are a set of runes players must solve to unlock their magical powers. The Rune images in this puzzle come with transparent backgrounds so you can place them over any item or map.
We chose to place them over ancient ice pillars hidden deep within the snow. In our adventure, the pillars are actually the source of an everlasting winter. And PCs must find and destroy them all to undo their magic.
Every time they find an ice pillar and solve a puzzle, a piece of the map is cleared of snow revealing new places to explore and resources to use. So PCs could travel an area once and miss everything hidden under the ice, and clear an area to explore again once the snow had melted.
It’s a really nice way to slowly explore the map that we totally stole from the classic Okami computer game. (Only in the game it was a curse, not ice).
How to Use Ice Themed D&D Puzzles
Our second idea was to use Runestone Puzzles, also available in our webshop. With this puzzle, especially the white pieces, already look like they were made from snow or ice. And this puzzle allows you to build your own designs. So you can create infinite ice puzzles for your D&D game to your hearth’s content. Like this example:
There are lots of ways you can incorporate this puzzle into your game. It really depends on what story you wish to tell. We used it to reveal the location of the ice pillars of the previous puzzle. The nice thing about that setup is that you link two different puzzles together for an even deeper immersion into the game. And it works out even better because both happen to also be rune-based.
Those are just two of our ideas for using ice puzzles in D&D. If you visit our webshop you’ll certainly find more puzzles you could use so be sure to check it out.
Other D&D Puzzles for Ice and Snow Campaigns
The previous puzzle was already ice themed. But you can easliy convert other puzzles to a winter theme as well. The following puzzles are all in the Puzzle Bundle in our webshop. I’ll give you some ideas on how to use them in a snow themed D&D campaign:
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 integrate this puzzle into a snow themed campaign is to have the key pieces be covered in blocks of ice. Players can see them but can’t reach them. Solving a puzzle could produce heat by some mechanical or magical means and reveal other key pieces. This way you can use layer the many puzzles in this pack. This also works for the next puzzle:
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!
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.