RPG Challenge, Day 13
“Speak, friend, and enter”
Yes, that’s from Lord of the Rings rather than an RPG, but it illustrates my favorite type of puzzle – the self-contained, clever not-quite-riddle. Something that gives the players all the information they need to overcome it, doesn’t require in-depth knowledge of a specific culture or 17-pages of background history, and if a group of players sit around and work on it someone is likely to spout out the answer and (15 minutes later) the group is likely to try it.
It’s a tricky balancing act to pull off as a puzzle, and I’ve failed more often that I have succeeded in creating something like it as a GM. In most cases when I have succeeded, it’s as a bit of mythology or background, when I have the players discover some such puzzle that was completed by a hero in times or yore as a historical note. I think I have pulled this off once as a PC challenge, in the tomb of Nibul for Dungeonaday.com, and I’m pretty proud of myself for that one.
Honorable mention goes to any of Grimtooth’s Traps, which I generally think are like cayenne pepper – not appropriate for everything, best as at best a dash of spice, and not to everyone’s taste.