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26

This falls under the principle of include three clues for everything. It also is well suited to the approach of using environment-based storytelling. Use Environment-Based Storytelling Introduce the puzzle setting first and let the players be confused over the weird specificity. I like the petrified inhabitants part; maybe have the husband-farmer and ...


16

It's not your job to come up with solutions, or even methods of solving. It's just your job to provide conflict. Here's an example. The party wants to obtain the ancient golden scepter of Kobora from the Frothy Crypt. The entrance to the scepter's chamber is locked, and the only key is held by Angry Kurt, the one-eyed grave digger who hates all humans and ...


13

You walk into a giant cave, floored with clouds. There is a single golden platform, floating in the sky near the precipice you stand on, like a boat docked on the shore. Engraved on it is the arcane rune XIII. A short distance further you see your destination: another platform extending out into the clouds. The platform is large enough for ...


12

No, these abilities are no more game breaking than other things characters will have around level 5, the minimum level for Dance of the Spider. Take for example that a wizard could cast Dispel magic at that level, which can render any magical trap harmless, or dimension hop which is a short teleport like shadow jaunt, and they can also cast spider climb. Or ...


11

The reason the rolls seems unfair is a problem called Goblin Dice. When talking about combat, d20 decide if a goblin lives or dies - but we all know sooner or later he will kick the bucket. When we use d20 to determine the success of one-of-a-kind events (like making a bluff check, a diplomacy check or a riddle-solving check), the high variability of the ...


9

The use of animate dead could, of course, be almost anything, but I particularly like simply having a switch in an area too hazardous (gas, radiation, whatever) to send a living thing, but some necromancer’s interrupted animation ritual available somewhere nearby. Black onyx already in place (though SLAs don’t actually need it), body prepared and ...


8

This is a question of character knowledge versus player knowledge. Cryptanalysis is a fun, if little used, human skill. Some players will delight in solving cryptographic puzzles, and 4e certainly doesn't prohibit the gamist approach of "challenge the player." On the other hand, cryptanalysis is highly binary. People either really like it, or basically ...


6

You should try and envision as many possible ways to bypass the obstacle as you can think of, yourself, and use this as a measure whether the obstacle is too "one solution". I personally envision MacGyver in the traps I think of and think of all the ways he'd get off the sticky situation. Usually, a single solution can be expanded with these: Don't forget ...


6

She/he's right, but their view is insufficient. Terrain puzzles can be fun for low level parties. Unfortunately, with the advent of fly, levitate, or spider climb (etc...) at levels 5 and 3, or with creative use of other magic at similar levels, most puzzles where difficult terrain is an issue... are simply not an issue. Assuming your DM really likes the ...


5

The short answer is to think in terms of problems and not in terms of solutions. This means that you should think about how to present a problem and not about how one should solve it. The longer answer is about utilizing the tools of the improve theater in order to make the problems that you've set solvable. "Yes, and" Probably the most important tool ...


5

You might want to look at the Grimtooth's Traps series.... Lots of various puzzle-traps and situations with trap-like effects. A wide variety of different levels of lethality, required player and/or character ability to overcome, and wonderful illustrations and excellent descriptions.


5

I highly recommend the fourthcore alphabet. It is a series of tables with random base types and special properties yielding thousands of combinations. The two relevant sections are "T is for Traps" and "P is for Puzzles". There's also a wealth of other information in there that could be used as inspiration for puzzles. I've drawn countless ideas from this ...


4

There's a useful perspective shift I find that works for me. I think of hazards, not puzzles. Take your dungeon, for example - it's falling apart. The problems you get from a hazard are things like "a hole in the floor", "A collapsed wall", "A broken bridge" etc. Hazards are great because they also don't lead to "one solution only" thinking on the part of ...


4

The key to an epic adventure is not to plan a perfect puzzle, but to plan the story of a perfect puzzle. Players shouldn't find clues where you left them; players should find clues where you let them. Keep a good balance between "too easy" and "too hard", and your players will boast of your brilliance for ages to come. With that in mind, write down a a ...


3

Tuck the clues into the descriptions of the rooms. Each person has one defining object in their room, but it might not be immediately obvious if you're not in the right frame of mind, especially if you make the descriptions robust enough that it doesn't stick out. Of course, alter these to fit your setting, but here are some ideas: A picture of a castle ...


3

Ok - I'm trying an Answer... Purely Mathematical solution As mentioned in the Comments the Riddle has a very low success ratio, with yes/no questions the only surefire way would be to reduce the remaining possible doors by half - maybe you can reduce them by 2/3, if you ask really cool trick questions, which are yes for 1/3 of the numbers, no for 1/3 and ...


3

Don't design multiple solutions to the problem, but design multiple methods of finding the one right solution. If you are having trouble coming up with multiple solutions to a problem, or have designed a problem that rightfully should only have one solution, a good alternative is to incorporate multiple methods of finding that solution. Opening a locked ...


3

How about a puzzle that involves reaching a switch that's located somewhere that can only be reached by flying? A platform floating in mid-air, perhaps, or a ledge on a wall that's covered by a continuously flowing, magically re-supplied stream of slippery goo that makes Climb checks unfeasible. Depending on what other powers your characters possess, they ...


3

Years of 16 bit video gaming seems to come into full swing! To tell the truth, I don't see why these two spells can't be the same puzzle but here's a few ideas: Pressure Plate Puzzle: The door to the next room is a Prismatic Wall. There are seven creatures in the room and the player must navigate them through a small maze to the pressure plates in the ...


3

It is very easy to create a 1 to 1 cipher which will sound linguistically plausible. I've done this several times, for many different languages. It's also easy enough to break that, given enough text, the players could figure it out. Effectively, what you do is map vowels to other vowels, and consonants to other consonants, and drop Y (and likely also C and ...


2

All roleplayers probably know the good old puzzle where you meet two people, one telling the truth, one lying. Find out the truth. It almost comes as a reflex now that if I meet two NSCs, I ask one what the other would say. That puzzle has been overdone. To death and beyond. And again and again. Too many times. However... there is more than just the simple ...


2

There is a small amount of inspiration to be found in Alastair Reynold's Diamond Dogs (novella with climbing a puzzle tower as a primary plot element). It's quite possible that those puzzles would be unsuited for your setting or player-group, though.


2

I provided two puzzles: You are standing on one side of a bridge which terminates before its middle in a golden cloud. The other side of the bridge is offset, but there are slight streamers of golden trailing from the edge of the railing-less bridge, and the winds howl around you. Inscribed in the base of the cloud is XIII. On the cloud there are ...


2

Say "Yes" The most important step to getting around single-solution obstacles is to say yes to your players when they ask if they can try something. They're going to propose their own solutions to their problems, and your job as GM isn't to decide what the right solution is - it's to determine how challenging the players' choice of solution is. Appeal to ...


2

I'm not the hugest fan of introducing puzzles like this into games but I think the best way to do this is to solve them out of character and then, if necessary, roleplay the solution in character. So long as everyone knows that you're going to do this (announcing it beforehand might be a good tactic), it eliminates or at least reduces many of the issues at ...


1

If you don't plan on using the abilities to trivialise any sort of puzzle that is designed to challenge the players (as opposed to the characters), as a lot of puzzles are, then let your GM know that. Personally, speaking as a GM, puzzles can require a sidelining of normal in-game thought processes, the players have to buy into solving the puzzle ...


1

Consider looking at it as a series of approaches instead of a series of solutions. Sit down and think, "What do I do if they try to solve this intellectually? Violently? Sneakily? Diplomatically? Ignoring it until it goes away?" Write out pros and cons for that sort of solution as well as some quick ideas as to how they might approach it. That gives you a ...


1

Actually if you are referring to a Binary Tree, then you can have some fun with getting your players walk from node to node trying to map down a correct sequence of "Pre-Order", "In-Order", or "Post-Order". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_traversal Here's a cheat guide for pre-order notation: If all players start in the Root Node (which is drawn at the ...



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