Mr Oldtimer
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun 14 Apr 2019, 12:01

Puzzles

Thu 16 Jan 2020, 02:22

Hi!
So, I want to include a bigger variety of obstacles for my players. The style of the game, keeping it low prep, makes it a bit difficult to present different problems to my players. The easiest, least prepping sessions involve more combat than I'd like and I want to change that. Encounters that include role play are also quite easy to come up with as long as I don't need to plan ahead for investigating, clues and a lot of intrigue. One of the classic problems in the old days were puzzles and I'd really like to incorporate them more in my game. Thing is, I don't want your everyday puzzle dungeon but more like a puzzle that actually could fit in an actual building. I mean, no lord would have five rooms in a dungeon under his castle filled with traps and the odd verses on how to avoid them. Also, who would build a large labyrinth, filled with levers to pull in different ways just to have a door opened?
I want realistic puzzles that makes sense. And I think that's quite hard to come up with on the fly soooooo.... 

Has anyone of you any fun puzzles to share?  
 
 
Mr Oldtimer
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun 14 Apr 2019, 12:01

Re: Puzzles

Fri 17 Jan 2020, 00:50

Thank you! Nice riddles. Some of them might be a bit hard to translate but enough of them to keep me going for quite a while. Does anyone else have any suggestion to a physical puzzle, perhaps an adventure site that revolves around some investigation/puzzle solving without being the typical old school trap filled dungeon?
 
muk83
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon 12 Aug 2019, 14:03

Re: Puzzles

Fri 17 Jan 2020, 10:00

Hi
In my opinion the best puzzle and best one off I came up was based on magic system from classic cRPG Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep (probably it was the same in DM I). In that game each spell is cast by selecting runes: one for Source (e.g. Fire), one for Form (e.g. Ball), one for Power (Weak to Strong). Or something similar.
This was in a home brew simplified DnD.
So the story was:
NPC told them to meet in a cave that leads to an old temple where an evil ritual is taking place.
Game started in the cave where it seems the NPC is killed or kidnaped. They found his journal that says to stop the ritual you have to light candles placed on runes according to a prayer. But the page containing the runes is missing, so is most of the candles.
While traversing the dungeon the players could find clues to figure out the runes.

The clues were:
Several burning candles with symbols on them, when snuffed a Mephit would pop out and attack them.
The symbols where:
[Fire][Water][Monster] for Steam Mephit
[Water][Earth][Monster] for Mud Mephit
etc.
To make it simpler I did announce what type of Mephit it was. Of course let the players note the symbols on piece of paper.

An altar that drains blood which had the [Blood][Pull] runes.

We had a mage and cleric in the party, so for some of the spells they knew, I wrote them the matching combination of runes. Firebolt would be something like [Fire][Send].

I made it sure that if they found all the clues, then they would be able to correctly match words from the prayers to runes.  

They had two chances to found a scroll with the runes decrypted, but one was after a locked door and a big fight (they failed to open the lock) the other in a room with magical darkness guarded by shadows (they decided not to go there).
So the adventure concludes with a battle with cultists, after which I gave them a limited time to solve the puzzle and stop the ritual, which now could go on without the cultists.

On the altar they could see the runes inscribed, all they had to do was to place Candles on the correct ones. Don’t remember the prayer now, but it was something along the lines “[Water] is [Life] and the source….”. There was a total of 5 runes hidden in the prayer, so as an extra DM d**l move I gave them 6 candles. They’ve spent more time thinking about the additional candle than on the other five. Be ready to come up with a funny/deadly effect if they prepare wrong runes.

-------------------

On a side note, the same as you I spent too much time thinking if puzzle/traps make sense in such a place. What I’ve noticed is my players don’t care, they even have more fun when there is a lot of funny/deadly things happening.
 
Konungr
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon 10 Jun 2019, 09:39

Re: Puzzles

Fri 17 Jan 2020, 12:52

My issue with riddles (which I do use sometimes but rarely) is you are not presenting an issue for the characters to overcome but an issue for the players to overcome. Even players who are great role players playing general unintelligent characters, when presented with a riddle, will drop all pretext of RP and just start digging into solving the riddle.

It can be fun, and thats good. But if you want to keep the players in character riddles almost always break that immediately.
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