Riddle Puzzles

2008 September 12
by Stupid Ranger

Dante shared his recent post on the macro puzzle… that over-arcing sometimes frustrating puzzle that has to be solved to advance to the next step. These are usually highly frustrating for me because if I don’t figure it out right away, I feel as if I’ve missed something very important.

I prefer riddles. To me, riddles are a much more satisfying intellectual challenge. One of the traditions of GenCon is to earn the Riddle Master badge from Cloud Kingdom as soon as possible once entering the sales floor. Because life as a Riddle Master is grand.

For the DMs out there, I’d like to share a riddle experience that I felt went very well from a player’s perspective. At GenCon, several years ago, we met up with a bunch of college friends, one of whom was there with his dad, who was an awesome DM and offered to run a short, one-night hang-out-and-have-fun kind of session. We all jumped at the chance.

This was the basic premise: we mighty adventurers encountered a sage of some kind, who provided us with charms to help us in our quest. To earn your charm, you had to answer a riddle, but you could get help from the rest of the party to solve your riddle.

There were two things I really liked about this approach. First, it was a gift – if you couldn’t answer the riddle, nothing bad happened. Second, you could get help; instead of stranding you there with everyone staring at you, waiting to see if you were going to make a guess, you got to ask for help from everyone. The bonus was that everyone stayed involved, even if they already had their charm.

Keeping everyone involved, making the goal achievable without making the stakes too high, and making sure everyone has fun keeps the challenge from being overwhelming.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Alex permalink
    September 12, 2008

    I’m a little hesitant to use riddles in my campaign only because I play online with Teamspeak and Gametable (not the WotC one).

    All player are at computer and I would be afraid they’d Google the answer. Unfortunately, I don’t consider myself clever enough to come up with original riddles.

    For my next session, I may throw in a riddle and see how my PCs react, if someone comes up with an answer right away or what not.

  2. Leandro Pugliesi permalink
    September 15, 2008

    Hey, ALez, i agreed with you…google has been a pain in the as*

    But i begin usil logic puzzles, and my group love-it!

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