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D&D 3E
do you (as a player) like puzzles in game? do you like number… 
24th-Sep-2004 04:44 pm
do you (as a player) like puzzles in game?

do you like number puzzles?

do you like logic puzzles?

do you like word puzzles?

are you familiar with non-base-10 number systems (binary, etc)?

how would you feel about dealing with a puzzle based on a non-base-10 number system?

would a base-6 or base-5 number system puzzle be too complicated?

i want to incorporate puzzles into my game. i like non-base-10 number systems. i was considering using something like that in my game. i think that something based on a base-6 or base-5 number system might be too weird or too hard to figure out in game, especially for an immediate goal, but i might use one as a long term goal. let the players try to figure it out, give them some sort of reward when they do. what do you think?

what puzzles if any have you used that worked well in game? i need something challenging but not impossible that won't take forever to solve.
24th-Sep-2004 04:00 pm (UTC)
yes, I like logic and word puzzles, and I've given both to my players. You know the old logic puzzles where The tallest kid is twice as old as the youngest, and the fat kid is three spaces to the right of the skinny kid, etc.? The kind you solve by building a grid and filling in info until you know the ordering, or whatever? I gave my players one of those, and it made for a pretty fun hour for the players who were into it.

Riddles can be a lot of fun, though it is hard to get something actually challenging without being frustrating...

Anyhow, unless your players are math or CS types, different bases could prove challenging to them...
24th-Sep-2004 06:32 pm (UTC)
I would not eat them with a fox...
Oh wait. Wrong words.
24th-Sep-2004 08:39 pm (UTC)
24th-Sep-2004 10:59 pm (UTC)
*bows and falls down*
24th-Sep-2004 07:28 pm (UTC)
I might begin by stating that I much prefer mysteries to puzzles.

That said, I have DMed and played in games where real puzzles were used, but invariably the greatest success comes when a relatively simple puzzle pops in the midst of a dungeon crawl (in the form of a trap, of course) or as/upon an item. The very best are the usage kind of puzzles (where you come across a number of items, perhaps in a series of rooms, that can be used together and/or in an atypical fashion to progress: e.g., there are decorative shields in a gatehouse that have a special spell upon them that allows passage over a river of acid but must be used wisely to get the entire 1st/2nd-level party across, and the PCs might not even realize the shields' purpose in the first place).

By and large, placing doors/pillars with word/number puzzles upon them that must be solved tend to cater to players who like puzzles while leaving the rest of the group frustrated or just bored. I teach computer science at the college level, and even I am not fond of such puzzles in D&D -- even when players are interested in them, it tends to be something they solve entirely out of character and out of the actual game.
24th-Sep-2004 07:46 pm (UTC)
well i like the idea of having a mystery in game, but never really did it. any suggestions on how to go about it?
24th-Sep-2004 08:08 pm (UTC)
A whodunnit is generally not to hard to incorporate into the game (at lower levels, at least). You can always have that boisterous guy who picked a fight with the PCs murdered during the night and have suspicion fall on the party. They have to work their way out of the clutches of the law (whether by diplomacy, subtlefuge or force) and clear their names by finding the real killer.

Or you can just run something like the Ravenloft Night of the Walking Dead module (available free from Wizards.com) where the PCs aren't suspects and "solve" the mystery more by continually walking into events that shed light on a string of murders.
24th-Sep-2004 08:04 pm (UTC)
Part of the problem with puzzles and number problems is that they assume a certain knowledge and intelligence of the player, when the player's skills might not match the character's skills -- but only if the kind of game you run cares about such things. Not everyone's does and that's okay.

However, understand that some players may resent getting a tough number problem, especially if their character is supragenius and the player doesn't know the answer.
24th-Sep-2004 10:56 pm (UTC)
However a roll based on intelligence for the character might net a nice hint for the player...

This might even things out a bit.
25th-Sep-2004 03:00 am (UTC)
Honestly, I find the majority of problems used in D&D (in the games I've been in, at least) to be rather 'out of theme'. In the middle of a lich keep, I need to figure out who goes across the river with who else, based on weight.. what?

If you're going to use a puzzle, it should be a logical choice for the puzzle maker. To use the example of the Lich keep:

The players find a locked door with no key hole. Using Detect Magic, the wizard in the party discovers that the door has a spell charged. With a lot of careful deduction, the party discovers that the Lich has cast a contigency spell on the door; if the right spell it cast on the door, it opens, but if the wrong spell is cast on the door, it activates a nasty trap.

Perhaps a series of spells, cast in the right order, is even necessary. Clues as to what spells/order could be gathered using intimate knoweledge of the lich and be examining the surrounded area (a fireball spell will leave burn marks, for example).
25th-Sep-2004 09:07 am (UTC)
Puzzles and riddles are always welcome in any game I play in, as well as any game I DM if I feel up to throwing one out at the party.

The only problem I find with puzzles and riddles is that, like somebody already said, the PC's aren't the ones working it out, the players are. And, depending on the level of the PC's, they may circumvent the puzzle entirely with various divinations or other forms of "cheating."

Basically, if you're going to do something like this, and want it to be something that strictly the characters themselves must solve, have it based off of a few Intelligence checks, ex:

Party comes to a room with various switches, locks, levers and "sensor activators". The right sequence of switches, levers, and motions (that's what the sensor activators do, more in a moment) will open the locks that will lead---to where ever you're leading the party. You might throw a wrench in the system by having multiple paths to choose from, so every sequence will do -soemthing- rather than nothing, or you might force the party to trek back and forth between a series of rooms (look at video games for examples of this: Xenogears, Resident Evil, etc).

Sensor activators, as I'm labeling them because I'm tired, are pretty self explanitory. Something is written, or drawn, or hinted at elsewhere, that essentially instructs the PC (or PC's) to be in a certain spot and to perform a certain action to get a certain result. Ex: Guzzlecum the Dwarf Bard has heard that one must dance in order to get through the Dracoliches cavern. Coming to a spot where there is a small raised platform and a door with no seeming way to open it, through force of arms or magic, he takes the opportunity to dance on the platform--which is a stage. The door opens and Guzzlecum continues forward.

Pardon the example for its stupidity, but I'm in that kind of mood. >.>;

ANYWAY, puzzles are great, as long as you don't overdo it. A lot of times PC's will be absolutely stumped by something you throw at them, and it can discourage them. If that happens, toss out subtle hints, and throw them a bone or two by giving them an Int based check if they keep screwing about.

Ultimately, it's up to you to know your players, their capabilities, the way they handle situations, and the way they play their characters. Barbarian characters, for example, have no patience for such things and would be much more likely to try and power through a puzzle than try and solve it, whereas the hook-nosed gnome wizard would sit there with his glasses on and studying the room until it was permenantly burned into his retinas.

....I need more caffeine before I type any more today, so I'll end my comment here. :]
25th-Sep-2004 12:59 pm (UTC)
Puzzles are great. I agree with the suggestion above that players could roll on intelligence to get a hint, especially if their character is smarter than the player himself.

Non-decimal numbers might be too much of a challenge unless you have a room full of math geeks. Also remember that a counting system that uses the same symbols usually uses the same base, and a base-6 numbering system would probably not use symbols 0 through 5, they might use some other symbols. Inventing new symbols (and possibly allowing magic to discern that they mean 0 1 2 3 4 5 but there isn't a 6 7 8 9) might be one manner of hint (requires the appropriate magic and a subsequent intelligence roll)

If the crew doesn't get the puzzle, perhaps give them an alternate route, such as discovering a totem or carving that shows Great Chief Ronco 5 followed by Great Chief Ronco 10 for some reason.
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