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Forum » General Topics » Running the Game » Riddles & Puzzles (Your thoughts on the matter)
Riddles & Puzzles
RussDate: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013, 3:40 PM | Message # 1
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I was thinking today about the use of Riddles and Puzzles in RPG's.  I have used them in the past but players seemed to get frustrated when they couldn't solve what I had presented them.  They insisted that the puzzles should only be relegated to the die roll and whether or not their characters could reasonably solve them.

Do you think it is fair to require players to solve riddles or puzzles during a game?  I think it mixes up the play and makes it more interesting.  Any thoughts?
 
Bad-AshDate: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013, 6:08 PM | Message # 2
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IMHO, it all comes down to the Intelligence stat, which is actually the hardest thing to role-play. (Charisma is probably second.) Stuff like strength, dexterity, wisdom, all that kind of stuff, can be handled really easily by a good system. But intelligence can't.

In reality, it should all be based on rolls. If a player is pretty dumb and plays an intelligent character, you have to rely on rolls to solve riddles because chances are you won't get them. Likewise, if the player is pretty smart but plays an unintelligent character, then he or she will be able to solve riddles but has to pretend he or she can't, so again you need to rely on rolls. Either way, player has to be separated from character.

And the big problem is that any group will probably have a mix of the two, so a GM has to be very careful to get the right balance.

However, it's still not that simple. Smart players will get pissed off knowing a riddle's answer but their character not knowing. And you run the risk of alienating the less smart players too. So it's a really hard thing for a GM to get right. I've heard some GMs solve this by encouraging players to create characters with an Intelligence score similar to their own real level of intelligence. Yeah, like that's not fraught with peril, right? wink

So no easy answer. I just play things by ear. If it feels right at the time that a player solves a puzzle, then cool. If it doesn't, or if no player can solve it, then we got with rolls.
 
RussDate: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013, 8:40 PM | Message # 3
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I understand what you're saying.  I didn't mean to sound like I meant to use riddles and puzzles for the players to solve in every instance, just every once in a while to mix it up a bit.
 
MichelleDate: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013, 8:53 PM | Message # 4
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I like a puzzle more than a riddle, but I think it's a middle of the road kind of thing.  I like options if possible and too hard is no fun and too easy isn't either.  I also expect that if I played a character that had more intellegane that I would be able to get little paper hints from rolling, kind of like bardic knowledge.  My 2 cents.
 
RussDate: Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013, 1:05 PM | Message # 5
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What about instead of a riddle or puzzle that the players must solve to progress, you employ them to give temporary bonuses to their characters.  Something that is not necessary for them to complete a task but just a little advantage to aid in the completion of it?  

Just looking for interesting elements to insert into an adventure.
 
MichelleDate: Sunday, 17 Mar 2013, 7:12 PM | Message # 6
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As long as it applies to all the characters I think it's a great idea.  Joint puzzle solving with all the characters working together can fun.  Especially if it's optional (or shortcut)  and the boost isn't major it will cut down on frusteration level.
 
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