You step into a chamber dominated by a massive statue of a robed humanoid. It stands ten feet in the air, the folds of its hood casting its face in dark shadow. Grasped in the statue's left hand is a scythe, its razor sharp blade carved out of black stone. The statue's right arm is raised out in front of it, holding in its clutches the end of a metal chain. This chain stretches to the floor, suspending a wicked blade inches over a circular indentation, roughly eight feet wide. This circle is hewn two inches into the stone, and is decorated with lettering spiraling towards its center. The script is fine and spidery, and glows with a faint red tinge. Twelve candles mark the edge of the circle, standing at regular intervals. All are lit, their wicks slowly burning and casting flickering shadows over the chamber. On closer examination, you find that you can read the spidery text.

The statue before you
Holds chain that was made
For keeping the time
With its pendulum blade

The mid hour of night
Is farthest away
From where the eyes of the statue
In its head lay

Hours of daytime
And hours of night
Here are the same
I shall shed that light

Each hour is named
After person or thing
Your job is to find me
I am not hiding

With the silence of grave
A death come too soon
The master of Shadow
Stands thirteen past noon

Past him stands the Gypsy
And somewhere between, a valiant sight
A Knight of the realm
And a Dragon who fight

Merchant, a trader
His wares beside him in Wagon
Crouches as far away as he can
From the infamous Dragon

The mystical Gypsy
With her tarot cards
Steadies his wares
Lest they crash into shards

The beast of red scale
And long crimson tongue
Is caught right between Knight's blade
And the shadowy one

Across from the Castle
Stands the Giant of rock
The Hydra of nightmares
Stands across from the Hawk

The Hawk is majestic
With feathers of red
Perched next to Gypsy
Who keeps it well fed

The Peasant sleeps poorly
He tosses and screams
For his is the hour
Of ghosts in his dreams

My place is not tricky
Find where I lie
I stand where not mentioned
Which hour am I?

Hour Marks: Holding the pendulum blade over any of the candles (which serve as hour markers), causes that candle to flare up, signifying a possible answer. If the pendulum is then released the answer is assumed to be given.
Answer: Nine o'clock. This might open a door, reveal treasure, etc. Should a player answer incorrectly, the pendulum swings, the candles flare up in a bright inferno, and the text swirls and seethes. Then something terrible is summoned to make them regret it.

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? Community Contributions (2)-2

Instead of summoning something when failing, it could trigger a number of traps (the floor falling away, and a pit opening up; a number of arrows/spears being fired into the room; or even spikes coming out of the floor).

Love this puzzle! I changed a few things to make this more of a dungeon ender/legendary place in my D&D 5e campaign:

Made it a 70ft diameter circle with a statue to match and changed the candles to stone pillars with slits in them to fit the pendulum. Players are given a general idea of the danger and possible reward of entering the circle before entering the dungeon and are locked into the ring upon entry past the pillars: stopped from teleportation spells and prevented from physically exiting past the pillars by a wall of arcane force.

Parts of the text are spread out through the dungeon on the ground below a certain sigil. Some in the middle of the path, others in areas hard to reach or far off where the party can only spot the sigil, making it possible to make it to the end without all of the pieces of the text. Before entering the ring they can see the large spiraling text and also see large chunks scraped out of the text, allowing careful adventurers time to go back and be able to read all of the puzzle before entry.

On a failure, the creature that is actually at the pillar chosen spawns to attack the party (for wagon I chose a gorgon pulling a wagon full of animated weapons/armor/helmed horrors).

I time the party IRL so that some minor baddies spawn to punish delay at regular intervals. I also make it so natural rest has no effect in the circle so parties can't do attempt, long rest, attempt, etc.

On a success, the party gains a favor from the goddess the statue forms.

I changed 'Hawk' to Roc and a few others details to make the creatures that mark the hours more directly represent the creature that would be summoned to punish the party