RP Puzzles - Those epics fails.
DM's and players, I'm wondering if you have any interesting stories of puzzles or scenarios you created /encountered where your party had a rough time with it.
I had a session where I put my players in a house occupied by a vampire who had the ability to put the players to sleep and while they were incapacitated, he revealed clue to them of their past/present/future. Instead of confronting the vampire, they burned the house down.
Well, what ya gonna do
There was a time, early in my life of table top rpgs where I first made a murder mystery. The party went out to a rich nobleman’s indoor animal enclosure. Effectively something was killing his exotic pets, and the thing that was killing them was a painting depicting all the animals that died within the artwork but none of the living ones in the enclosure. They couldn’t figure it out so… yah know… they just killed the nobleman… and then burned down the mansion
That's such a cool idea! I love that they would show up in the painting! WHATS WITH BURNING THINGS TO THE GROUND!
@mianngu hey, you know how things is, when people don’t see what’s in front of them, might as well cover a wide berth right?
I mean, I’m no better, I plan for everything in my rps. And when I rp with other lads, if they don’t catch on to what I’m getting at, I throw a curve ball right at them. In my longest running discord rp which has been going on for 9 years by this point. One of the longest mysteries in the rp was who was the first one to fire the first shot in the downtown district in the current city. Two gang members were badly injured downtown, so my partner was to figure out who fired the first shot. However later on it was discovered that it was the city council members and the local trade league instigating a gang war to try and lay claim to various hideouts that would be lost in the ensuing war. Needless to say they thought it was their buddy’s company leading them on so they investigated them but uncovered nothing. But they ultimately wasted so much time the war happened anyways°w°
I played in a d+d session once run by a guy with a lot of player experience but very minimal background behind the screen. It went okay until we hit a puzzle in the woods. I'll admit I don't remember the specifics but the mechanic behind it was there was a fading prize pool that shrank everytime someone made the wrong guess about the answer to a riddle. Alternatively, we could just quit the puzzle and take half the remaining prize pool as a consolation prize.
Like many riddles, it was very ambiguous. And of course, you want to try to solve it. We were there to play, not be mere spectators at our own game.
Turns out the riddle was just gibberish, a red herring. The answer made no sense. According to the DM, the entire encounter was thusly 'a logic puzzle about greed', where the characters were being tested to see if they could simply accept that they couldn't possibly get the answer correct, and that it was better to get something than nothing. Meanwhile, the contents of the prize pool faded randomly, meaning a failed answer would just as likely remove a magic sword as it would a minor healing potion.
No one was happy with any of this. To the players it was a waste of time trying to wrack our brains when the real solution concerning the morality of greed never came up during the challenge. Yet that was the 'logical' answer. How was anyone to know it couldn't be solved rationally? The challenge of a riddle means there's a sensible response to give. Even Bilbo's shady riddle to Gollum was guess worthy. I didn't think the greed metaphor worked under the circumstances either.
The campaign ended there in everyone's frustration and he didn't run for anyone again save for his kids over a decade later.
I feel like this only works if you have some type of clue that it's about greed. How else are you supposed to figure it out? I love the concept and the way the mechanics work. But I think anyone, even well-seasoned players, would have a hard time with this.
@mianngu Exactly. The idea isn't terrible, but it wasn't posed as a morality test or anything. He would only call it a logic puzzle which doesn't make much sense with how he ran it. Having to guess that there was no solution to what was worded as a riddle challenge without a hint or some direction made it illogical, if anything.
I think he was shooting for something profound but took the underpants gnome's approach to planning it.