View Full Version : Help me with a sphinx "riddle"? [4e, sort of]

Edge of Dreams
2010-01-31, 04:13 AM
So, I'm planning to have the party in my 4e D&D game encounter a sphinx that is guarding an oracle. Rather than ask traditional "riddles", I'd like the sphinx to ask questions that could have many different answers. It'll be a combination of the player's ingenuity and a couple skill checks to see if they give an answer that satisfies the sphinx. Literal answers could work with high enough skill checks in the relevant knowledge, but cleverer and more metaphorical answers would give bigger bonuses on the skill check to impress the sphinx.

I'd also like to give the party the option of challenging the sphinx as individuals or as a group. As individuals, each would be asked a question, and if they answer successfully, that character gets to see the oracle and ask it a question. As a group, they would be told they all have to participate, and there would be the possibility of none, only one, or all of them being allowed in to see the oracle based on how well they do.

Finally, I'd like the questions to be tailored to the individual party members. Here's what I've got so far, but I'd love any suggestions or ideas you might have.

For the Goliath Warden who wants to explore the Underdark to understand it and keep balance between it and the surface - "What is at the bottom of the world?"
For the Invoker who *steals* his power from the Raven Queen (think 3.5's Ur-priest flavor) - "There are many gods, some known, some unknown. Who is greatest?" (definite bonus points if he answers with something other than a god, e.g. the primordials)
For the bloodthirsty Ranger - "The warrior and hunter slays many men, many beasts. What is hardest to kill?"
For the slightly mad Artificer - ?
For the Drow Sorcerer who wants revenge on the family that exiled her - ?

I still need an idea for a question for the group option, something along the same lines but a little more challenging.

I need to go look at the DMG and errata again and decide how closely to follow the skill challenge rules (yes, I'm familiar with the changes and the problems with direct skill challenges). If the party chooses the individual challenges, I'd like to have the difficulty such that about half of them succeed.

Anyone else ever done something close to this?

Anyway, thanks for any help and ideas you might have.

Inyssius Tor
2010-01-31, 05:17 AM
Can't think of much in the way of suggestions, but I like it.

I might suggest you take a look at the Sphinx Mystery in the Monster Manual 2, however. It offers an interesting use of the sphinx's traditional riddle thing as it could be integrated into a combat encounter. And, hey, who could hate a monster with powers like "Riddle Me This" and "Corrective Mauling"?

Roc Ness
2010-01-31, 05:38 AM
Uhh... "At what point is magic machine?" for the artificer? :smallconfused:

EDIT: Maybe give bonus points if he gives the coordinates for a "magic" machine?

2010-01-31, 05:39 AM
For the Drow sorceror "Revenge is a dish best served cold, what is the correct way to cook it?"

Inyssius Tor
2010-01-31, 05:56 AM
"How can a daughter of Lolth find peace?"

2010-01-31, 08:33 AM
Artificer - "What do you see when you stare at the darkness?"

2010-01-31, 12:13 PM
For the Drow Sorcerer who wants revenge on the family that exiled her - ?

Cruelty is the thing that comes dearest to me.
Rage is the thing that follows close after.
Vengance is the thing that flows in my veins.
Despair I do choke with laughter.

Driving myself to the very edge, to take what is rightfully mine.
to hold nothing back as I go on my quest, and crossing the final line.

I do ask you dear child of mine, yes I do thee chide.
To hunt after something that you've been denied, is it all just a matter of pride?

What am I, I wonder?

You're me.

It's bad poetry, I know. :P

Pharaoh's Fist
2010-01-31, 12:14 PM
Be prepared for the players to take the violent alternative.

Sir Homeslice
2010-01-31, 01:23 PM
Be prepared for the players to take the violent alternative.

"Riddle me this: Why should I let you live?"

2010-01-31, 01:48 PM
What is your favorite color?
What is your quest?
What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

/had to be done

2010-01-31, 02:11 PM
Be prepared for the players to take the violent alternative.

Easy solution: some sort of powerful, maybe even divine mandate will not allow a player to harm the sphinx unless that player has solved a riddle. Puts some pressure on if the sphinx asks a question, and attacks at a wrong answer, maybe asking a new riddle each round of combat...

Just thoughts.

2010-01-31, 02:13 PM
For the Ranger: "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"

Edge of Dreams
2010-01-31, 02:15 PM
Be prepared for the players to take the violent alternative.

Oh yeah, totally expecting this. The thing is, the sphinx as written gets major buffs if the players attack it without properly answering the challenge. Should make for a tough fight.

Thanks for the ideas, guys. Anyone got any more?

I'll post up how the session goes once it actually happens.