Monday, October 11, 2010

How do you open that secret door?

Over on Dragonsfoot, several of us contributed ideas for methods to open secret doors.  It's good to have ideas for this sort of thing.  Just rolling the die is kind of boring.  This way, they may learn the door is there (by searching or a die roll) but not be able to open it, open it by accident, or learn of the method by rumors or hearsay in town, and need to search to find the door!

Some of these ideas work well for special, non-secret doors to special areas as well.

List contributed to by myself as well as DF posters Rath Denacht, Serleran, Wilowisp, and Mike.

-depress stone/brick on wall/floor
-move lever
-pull book
-pull rope/chain
-slide small statue or part of large statue
-pull/turn torch sconce
-speak the password ("open sesame")
-Insert small item into XXXX.
-Pour liquid.
-Use some element (fire, air, earth, etc etc).
-Specific magic spell.
-Secret symbol worn (ring, amulet, crown, etc etc).
-Hidden lock.
-Answer riddle.
-certain number (or pattern) of knocks on the hidden panel
-with finger, trace a certain symbol (or pattern) on the hidden panel
--opens automatically at certain natural conditions (full moon, high or low tide, high noon, during a thunderstorm, etc.) or similar unnatural conditions created by magic
--device in nearby area opens it (through a method described above)
--pushing or pulling on the door (!)
--touching it with the appropriate body part (forehead, toe, buttocks...I'll stop there)
--playing/singing a certain song
-depress stone/brick on wall/floor: This; but, the stone/brick/ or floor is actually sentient, and the door only opens if you indeed manage to "depress" them. Players have to use Chr to convince them that noone likes them, they're only a silly ol' brick noone cares about, thery're really ugly compared with other, prettier bricks, Etc...........
-move lever: Same idea, but now the PCs must somehow inspire the lever's enthusiasm!
-Insert a key
-Knock on it
-Cast knock on it
-It opens by itself randomly 1/6 of the time (check once per turn)
-The door opens automatically in complete darkness, but closes instantly at the slightest light
-The door has a demon's head carved on it. You have to stick your hand in the mouth and feel around to find the catch.
-The door has a weird insignia carved on it. If you kiss the symbol the door opens
-The door is an illusion but seems real to every test. You have to disbelieve and just walk through it; if you try to walk through it, save vs Spells to see if you succeed.
-There is a bookshelf nearby. Pull a certain book halfway out to open the door.
-Swear at it.
-The door has a face with a magic mouth. You have to talk to it, but the door is (1) aloof and proud, (2) asleep and narcoleptic, (3) cooperative but hard of hearing [mishears what you say], (4) easily distracted, (5) a flippant prankster, (6) thinks it's smarter than you are, (7) believes it is a magic mirror and tries to imitate you, (8) only opens for monsters, (9) lonely and wants to talk for 1-6 turns before letting you go, or (10) believes it is a dragon and the supreme ruler of this level, demanding treasure and respect, except its breath weapon is merely halitosis. Thus you have to convince or trick the door into opening.
-The door is outlined in what appears to be purple crayon. You have to find a purple crayon and draw a handle on the door to open it.
-The door has a rusty nail sticking out of it. You have to prick your finger on the nail and draw a drop of blood.
-The door is an unusual kind of mimic. If you put a day's worth of rations nearby, it will leave its post temporarily to go consume them, then return.
-Pull a lever in a different room.
-The door only opens when a humanoid is killed in this room.
-The door has a hemisphere with three holes on it, arranged like a face: two above, one below. It opens if you put your fingers in the holes as if picking up a bowling ball.
-Coin operated door.
-Security door: if you put on the previous owner's robe and ring, it opens at a touch. Otherwise it does not open at all.
-Only opens for bearded characters. (It was made for gandalf by a dwarf)
-Only opens when moonlight shines on it. How to get moonlight into a dungeon is the problem.
-You have to pull on it, but the handle is gone leaving only a couple of bolt-holes.
-Door is hinged horizontally: push against the top and it lays down like a drawbridge.
-Door is hinged horizontally: push against the bottom and it opens upward.
-Door slides upwards like a gate. You have to jam something underneath and pry it upwards.
-Door is plastic like taffy. You can push through veeeryyy sloowwly, taking a full turn (for each character) to ooze your way through it. If a wandering monster shows up when you are halfway through, you are essentially paralyzed.


  1. copy/pasted, thank you very much. :)

  2. You're welcome. Like I said, this was a group effort. The ones with double dashes before them are mine, the rest were from others.

  3. I find a ring of the ram with a charge or daily available works really well, but if you do that you've got to jump through even as the opening is being blasted, well, open, with a pitcher of cool aid in one hand while screaming "oh yeah!"

    Or maybe that is just me and my PCs.