The Sand Box

A Magical Puzzle Key for opening a door. Innocuous, somewhat simple, but fun to solve, if you like puzzles.


This is an item that is basically a magical lock to a nearby secret and impenetrable door. It's a way to sneak an interesting puzzle into the game, basically.

In an otherwise empty room is a long, anvil-like piece of stone. The top is flat, and inscribed on the left half of the top are a sequence of figures. To the right of those figures is a small bowl filled with sand. The sand is level and unmarked.

Nothing bad happens if the sand is disturbed, and the sand can be returned to a state of 'clean slate', simply by flattening the sand. The 'anvil' is stuck to the ground, and is immovable.

There is a nearby secret door that is found but can't seem to be opened. The only thing in the room is this anvil-like thing with the figures on it.

The sequence looks like this(I hope the link works, cut and paste if you have to):
(Feel free to download and use that image if you want.)

Once the appropriate next symbol is scribed in the sand, the secret door pops open. Can you figure out the next symbol?

ANSWER: Draw two 8's next to each other, like this 88. The symbols in the diagram are mirror imaged numbers from 1 through 7.

? Responses (11)

Goto Author

Good solid puzzle

Goto Author

ok, but i've seen it many times before. i like the idea of the bowl of sand.

Goto Author

Good idea, but I think it's a little too easy to figure out.

-Drackler Wyrmdragon

Goto Author

The external link is broken, so this sub needs reworked somehow.

Goto Author

I think the OP means an illustration like this (my own work, feel free to use):

In my game I am going to say that there are faded writings on the walls which the party can't read... unless they don't get the puzzle, at which point I'll start saying they've 'deciphered' a clue:

(roughly getting more obvious going down)

* The one eyed man is king

* If you stare into the abyss...

* Divide and conquer

* Think deeply, reflect

* Mirror, mirror on the wall

* We're into double digits

Goto Author

Well... to me this was kind of obvious as soon as I saw the picture, even if I never saw it before. Then again, I showed this to three other people and only one of them got it, and had to think about it for a while. So... I guess it's actually a good puzzle, and I'm just wired this way?

Edit: Welp, I just tried to see how it turned out with my group, and they told me they saw this in The Simpsons. Guess it's probably not gonna be an easy puzzle to add without everyone knowing it beforehand.

Goto Author

Thank you tobydjones for the link! The image is pretty important.

Post delivers on its promise: a simple, straightforward puzzle you can use pretty much anywhere. Use of sand as an input device is a nice addition.

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