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Old 01-06-2020, 08:37 PM   #1
FireHorse's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Default Puzzles, Riddles, and other Non-Combat Challenges

Love 'em? Hate 'em?

How much do you use them, if you're the GM? Or encounter them, when you're a Player? Care to share any favorites?

For example, I once had a GM who sent us on a quest to reassemble the broken shards of the 'Bloodstone of Somebody-or-Other', for which he used a 3D puzzle as a prop — it was a translucent red diamond-shaped (plastic) gem, which came apart into dozens of pieces, and each stage of the adventure would net us a few of them. But merely having them all together was not enough, we actually had to reassemble the puzzle.

For another example, I once put a magically-sealed stone door in a tomb, which could be opened easily by pressing certain carvings on its face in a particular order. And technically I even left instructions for the correct order right there on the door, but using references that wouldn't make any sense unless they had already gathered various clues earlier in the adventure (and in a totally different location).

And they had those clues, of course, because I made sure they were given the opportunities. But they had to realize that those had been clues to opening the door, and solve the puzzle on their own.

As a totally different sort of example, another GM once dropped us into a giant chessboard, where movement and combat were constrained (to some extent) by the rules of Chess.

He had not balanced the encounter properly for our levels (we were all very new to That Game at the time), so our entire party was slaughtered in spectacularly gruesome fashion — as I recall, my ranger was impaled on a Knight's lance — but I still think the chess board thing was a cool idea…
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