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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

You could have a key that's slightly too small for its door or lock, and let thermal expansion be the solution. Likewise, you could have a bimetallic item that changes shape when heated be a solution to a different puzzle.


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

Engineering - Give them pulley and mechanical advantage puzzles: EG: They've got a lever, and the long arm is needed to raise up to get to the ledge leading out... but in order to do so, they have to pick the right guy to go up - strong enough to lash it securely, light enough to be counter balanced by the others... and then let him use a pulley pair to ...


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 ...


10

Engineering student: When I was in university all engineers had to take a spatial awareness test. Maybe you can adapt this into a roleplaying puzzle. give them an odd view of a keyhole and make them select the correct key. Specific to Mechanical Engineering: Anything that has to due with simple machines (pullies, levers, gears) should work. Maybe a ...


10

I've successfully used the format found in "Logic Puzzle" magazines. These are those puzzles that you solve on a grid of possibilities. Usually they are things like work out which pet belongs to which person based on a list of statements. These can be easily adapted to a fantasy or other setting and given a reason for needing to be worked out. For ...


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 ...


7

Kobold Quarterly has been doing a great series called "Encounter Codex" that presents some great puzzles that feel well integrated into the situation rather than just imposed artificially. Here's the most recent: http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/front-page6486.php The Eberron D&D adventure module "Seekers of the Ashen Crown" also had some nice ...


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

It may more have its place in a game of Mage, but I think it can also work in Pathfinder if you're willing to handwave the "how ?" An interesting challenge for the psychology student could be to piece back together a broken soul. This would be done by entering a plane associated with its unconscious (a finite plane arranged, by pure coincidence, much like a ...


6

http://www.cloudkingdom.com/ is a resource specifically for this. Their source books work for any RPG. Plus they have a riddle of the week on their site.


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 best way is to beta test it. If you have a favorite RPG forum (which is NOT the same as an RPG Q&A site), post it there. Gamers like puzzles and many of them will be happy to try out your puzzle, even if they're not playing in your game.


5

Sometimes physical puzzles like tangrams or puzzle blocks can be fun for players. Especially if they find one piece at a time and then have to figure out how or when to put it together.


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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


3

Psychology Handling a hostage crisis and Stockholme Syndrome of the NPCs. Perhaps, unless dealt with, the hostages intervene on behalf of their captors? Or, the PCs are the captors and must diffuse the stressful NPCs and keep them in line (or win them over). Don't just have them roll, have them explain exactly what they're doing and saying. Mitigating ...


3

Back in the old times when I did some dungeon crawling scenarios I put my players through some contraptions inspired by "the incredible machines". I designed some door and traps that were possible to open, but one had to find out how. They were based on simple mechanisc, but it's hard to solve when you see only some parts of the construction. Especially ...


3

I hate to give this kind of answer, but I will anyway: don't do this. Or, to be less of a jerk: don't do this unless you're sure your players like it, too. The problem with riddles and puzzles is that they yank players out of their characters and into riddle solving mode. As someone said, puzzles are for players and not characters to solve. This makes ...



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