This submission comes from Benson. I’ve left the submission unaltered below!
My design philosophy was to figure out what sort of mechanics / puzzle solving solutions I wanted to use in the room, and then build a reasonable theme around it. Currently, the allure of multiple rooms in escape rooms is that it gives the player a renewed sense of satisfaction for solving each puzzle (openingup an entire new area). My idea was to have the entirety of the room(s) available to the player at first with each puzzle unlocking more ‘tools’ to be used to interact with more areas / functions of the room. With this room, I wanted each ‘tool’ to evoke the exact “oh, look at what we can do / explore now!”without having to open up new giant areas (low budget, anybody?)
Theme: An abandoned jungle laboratory
Story: While on a nature hike, you stumble across a cleverly disguised door in the bedrock. As your partyenters for the sake of exploration, somebody disturbs a dust covered journal, releasing dust and whatlook like green spores into the air. An old but functioning alarm sounds and a deadbolt slides into place in the door, leaving the party to figure out what has happened and how to get out.
1) Through the journal, unlocked computer logs, and voice memos (think performing experiments while dictating procedures and results), the players will learn that this was a military commissioned laboratory which had hired a scientist to produce a deadly chemical weapon. While the scientist succeeded, an unfortunate accident released the toxin (the green spores) and shattered the small microbiome used to cultivate a jungle plant required for the antidote. The players’ final objective will be to synthesize an antidote to the poison which also happens to override the biohazard alarm which locked the entrance inthe first place.
2) The place will not be large. As it was a laboratory for a single scientist hidden away in a remote jungle,it consists of a bunk, a lab area, and a washroom. But as a long lost hideaway, many of its previous functions are no longer available (water, power, vents, etc.) By re-activating each of these functions, these will be the tools the player requires in order to “progress” through the story.
3) Puzzles will mainly focus on the ‘unlocked functions’ of the laboratory. For example:
Water – can be used to float a tool / key from the bottom of a drain, can be used in conjunction with the heat to steam / mist and reveal a message on a mirror, can be used to lure an animal by whose colour / name is needed for part of a password
Filtered vents – opening them may release something trapped in the flaps, having them opened allows for nature’s sounds (eg. animal calls) which may reference a password used, lets sunlight in which may used as a reference point in the room or provide a shadow hint
Power – unlocks most lab functions, such as UV light, electron microscope, etc.
4) The endgame which will be revealed as each tool also unlocks further story is that they will have to recreate the ideal conditions for the antidote-producing plant to bloom (the last seedling has been held in stasis since the microbiome was shattered). Through usage of vents for sunlight, water for humidity, and heating for temperature, placement of the ‘stasis box’ in the right area will trigger it to open and aflower to bloom, releasing anti-toxin and ending the game.