Simon D&D Puzzle


I am a big proponent of using existing games as in-game D&D Puzzles. The following article outlines ways to use a Simon game as a D&D puzzle.

Reminder on D&D/Pathfinder Puzzles
Puzzles should ALWAYS be optional. When you place a D&D Puzzle or riddle at a choke point in an adventure or dungeon the momentum grinds to a halt.

When you successfully follow Simon through a pattern you receive a signal (effectively a point), after 35 signals the game is beaten and you win. In our playtesting, 20 signals presented a moderate challenge and 25 signals presented a difficult (but still achievable) challenge.

The longest recorded game of Simon was at the 25th anniversary party of the game in 2003. 14-year-old Joel Berger beat the game 14 times in a row. (This is often misquoted by the duergar on Reddit as 14 moves, Joel got 35 moves in a row, 14 times, not 14 moves).

Sci-Fi Example
The players discover a crashed alien vessel the doors of which are sealed with four colored buttons, red, yellow, green, and blue. Don’t overuse the locks, protect only sensitive areas that hide advanced weaponry or major plot points.

Fantasy Example (D&D5E Puzzle)
Given the colorful nature of the Simon puzzle, it lends itself to a prismatic wall trap. A room of the dungeon is blocked by a prismatic wall. This prismatic wall seems slightly different than others of its kind. The scintillating pattern is made up of splashes of yellow, red, blue, and green. On the floor in front of the wall are 7 gems, three of the which are dull and grey. The remaining gems are red, blue, yellow, and green.

The players then attempts to complete sequences equal to or greater than the difficulty set by the DM (Usually 20 or 25 moves). If they fail to get the correct number of moves they suffer damage, the type of which is determined randomly (damage presented for D&D5E, tweak for Pathfinder):

Damage Type (1d4)
1 Red – fire
2 Yellow – lightning
3 Green – poison
4 Blue – cold

Damage by Level
1 – 4: 1d10
5 – 10: 2d10
11 – 16: 4d10
17+: 10d10

Damage-less Option
You can replace damage by increasing the difficulty of subsequent attempts by 3 or 5 moves.

Horror Example
A playful spirit hides a clue or point plot, and refuses to share with the information unless a character beats it at Simon. The two-player version can be used or take turns.

D&D puzzles can be difficult to create. This mini-game can lighten a session and be used to break up ordinary gameplay with a splash of nostalgia. Try it and let me know how it worked in the comments.

Any Simon game will work, we used a handheld version. Need one? Grab them here.


5 Responses to “Simon D&D Puzzle”

  1. I really like this idea, thanks 🙂

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