View Full Version : Puzzles and Challenges

2015-11-10, 09:18 PM
In many encounters there are puzzles or obscure challenges that the players need to figure out. These can range from the contrived to the entirely situational. Tell us, playground; what puzzles have you encountered or loosed upon your players? What are your favorite puzzles or riddles you've seen others use in their RPGs?

As a fun little challenge, post solutions to the puzzles in spoilers so others can take a turn at solving the puzzles. :)

Brief Description

A Roundabout Path (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20069135&postcount=1)
Circular room presents as a dead end. A hidden way past exists for discovery by the clever.

Precious Skulls (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20069135&postcount=2)
A riddle hints at which skeleton wears each skull of precious metal in order to progress.

A Game of Dinner (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20069135&postcount=3)
A riddle poem gives clues to which dish is poisonous. Take your pick and hope you are correct!

Of Rocks and Worms (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20079597&postcount=4)
Use the rules of the mine encounter to get through a cave-in.

My first contribution:

You enter a circular room about 10 ft. Wide. There do not appear to be any other exits to this room. The hallway has no other paths. This is a dead-end. The floor is a grey stone, circular like the room. All along the outer perimiter of the floor are grooves just wide enough for you to fit a hand in, or the toe of your boot. Affixed to the walls near the floor are four horizontal wooden bars- one at each of the cardinal directions. Careful investigation reveals that there is a very small gap between the circular stone floor and the wall of the room. You don't have a good enough angle to see how far down the gap goes.

The hallway you came from leads to the entrance of the temple. As far as you are aware, this is the only room you can reach.

The room is like a screw. The party needs to brace themselves using the wooden beams and push off on the grooves in the floor. The floor will gradually rotate down, revealing a short doorway, allowing them to continue into the temple. To go back up, they can do this but push in the other direction. There is a lever at the bottom to raise and lower the floor- for security reasons.

2015-11-11, 09:41 PM
You should know as part and parcel of this riddle that the party will have recovered skulls that are copper, bronze, silver, gold and platinum. This is one that I've got coming up soon.

This room is quite large. 60 feet by 140 feet. The room smells of old paints, and oils. It appears to be a gallery of some sort, you can see numerous paintings that cover the walls. There are a number of walls that are shorter than the ceiling which are made of wood and stucco for the express purpose of holding more paintings. The room is practically filled with sketches, water colors and paintings of the same five women. Some of the women seem to be wearing very old styles of clothing. They depict these women at different stages of life. The portraits are arranged in sets that are titled by the name of the woman that they portray. The women are named Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary. Thus one portrait of a woman is named Elizabeth 1, and the next is Elizabeth 2 and so on. Each of the women are reasonably beautiful in their own way. At the back of the room are five chairs, in each of the five chairs are five headless skeletons. On the floor beneath the chairs is a skull of silver and another of copper. Each chair is labeled with the name of the woman whose skeleton sits in the chair: Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Mary from left to right. In addition to the double doors you just came through, there is a large steel double door on the north wall. Upon this door the following clues to this apparent riddle are etched:

Platinum is next to copper
Elizabeth had the cheapest taste
Silver is not next to gold or platinum
Silver is just right of bronze
Elizabeth and Catherine could both turn green
Platinum is not next to bronze or silver.

The riddle is solved thusly:


2015-11-12, 08:19 PM
Below is a puzzle I gave to my players. The 'poetry' of the riddle is meant to be a little off. It was given by a disjointed, malfunctioning magic item forcing them to play through a partially real scenario.

Once there was a queen named Baldric,
who made food so good you could cry,
She held court over every bitter dish,
for it was her greatest wish,
to poison her enemies stone dead.
The queen always knew, to be honest,
She could trust those west of onyx,
And those between jade were savory sweet.
North or west of ruby red,
Hold certain spice in their designs,
And either side of sapphire is a tangy treat.
To boarder both tangy and sweet,
Makes one a sour retreat,
But to be none of these flavors is a bitter feat.
And now, to each, pick a seat.

The clues gradually rule out certain dishes. Carefully applied, all but one plate is ruled out as 'not bitter'. The context clues of the riddle suggest that bitter dishes are poisonous, so the only remaining dish, the ruby red dish all the way on the bottom right, is poisonous.

In the image: SA = savory sweet, SP = spicy, T = tangy, SR = sour.


In the original riddle, each dish provided a bonus when eaten.
Tangy: Restore 5 health, gain resistance to acid damage for 2 hours.
Sweet: Restore 5 health, gain resistance to cold damage for 2 hours
Spicy: Restore 5 health, gain resistance to fire damage for 2 hours.
Sour: Restore 5 health, gain resistance to electricity damage for 2 hours
Bitter: You are now at 0 hp and dying.

2015-11-15, 09:19 PM
A simple environmental 'puzzle':

Sent my players into a mine where they had two options:
1) travel in the dark and risk being assaulted by swarms of rock-worm larvae which hunt small prey by scent.

2) use a light spell, which will scare them off, but attract the attention of rock-worm adults which hunt using a supernatural 'detect light' sense that allows them to detect light, and fluctuation in it, through 10 ft. of stone. Rock-worm adults can, of course, burrow through stone fairly easily. They use this as a hunting tactic: burrow to the surface and wait for their light-sense to detect a shift in the daylight coming from above, indicating a creature has passed overhead. They then spring up and eat whatever it is.

The party traveled in the dark, but eventually came to a caved-in section of the mines. They had to get through the collapsed earth before they could progress. They were level 4 with no 'move earth' style spells. Moving the stone would take several hours by hand. What do they do?

They use a torch or a light spell to attract an adult to the cave-in, retreating so they don't call it's attention to themselves. Eventually, they got one to burrow through the cave-in to investigate.