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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:38 pm 
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I've got a questions about some of the puzzles and riddles that are in the official DW adventures.

Some of the puzzles seem almost impossible unless you give some sort of additional clues

The "find the 14 upright of the 26" one form Prince of Darkness

Fabian's parchment from e Elven's Crystal spring to mind.

So I'm asking how GMs handled the puzzles in the official adventures and how the puzzles in them played out in actual games. Can someone give any advice on them if one were to run the official adventures so players don't spend hours trying to solve one or just quit?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:13 am 
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Jay_NOLA wrote:
I've got a questions about some of the puzzles and riddles that are in the official DW adventures.

Some of the puzzles seem almost impossible unless you give some sort of additional clues

The "find the 14 upright of the 26" one form Prince of Darkness

Fabian's parchment from e Elven's Crystal spring to mind.

So I'm asking how GMs handled the puzzles in the official adventures and how the puzzles in them played out in actual games. Can someone give any advice on them if one were to run the official adventures so players don't spend hours trying to solve one or just quit?


I've run these adventures multiple times. Both of these puzzles haven't really caused most of my players any trouble - especially the '14 upright' one - my most recent group worked out where that one was coming from in seconds - it took a few minutes to actually solve it, but they knew where they were going straight away. Fabian's parchment took a while before somebody twigged on that.

But if I had a group where they were getting hung up on a puzzle, and it was reaching the point that failure to solve it was going to make the game stall, I'd get everybody to roll a d20 check versus Intelligence, and hope somebody passed, and if they did give them a clue. "Think about the number 26 - what common thing has 26 variations?" for example. But I only resort to that after giving them a reasonable chance to work it out, and only if its actually stalling the game.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:42 am 
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My players generally haven't had any trouble with most of the puzzles. I tend to be a lot more leeway giving on puzzles when I'm running PbP because its a guaranteed way to have the game grind to a halt as no one wants to venture a suggestion and be wrong.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:04 pm 
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Jay_NOLA wrote:
So I'm asking how GMs handled the puzzles in the official adventures and how the puzzles in them played out in actual games. Can someone give any advice on them if one were to run the official adventures so players don't spend hours trying to solve one or just quit?


*SPOILERS*

If I play one of the published adventures, I'd typically adapt it rather than play it as-is. There should never only be one way to proceed and there should be plenty of clues to direct the PCs. If the PCs can't solve a riddle, that should be fine - it might make the adventure harder or it might close off an optional side adventure, but the main objective should still be achievable.

With the "14 upright of the 26" riddle, remember that the PCs have a couple of opportunities to discover what this means - either solve the puzzle or listen to the ghost. Also, the PCs can still achieve the campaign objective (i.e., prevent Balor from being awoken) without entering the City of Mimir, so failure to solve the riddle will not bring the campaign to an early close. I'd be more focused on the black/white powder puzzle in the main entrance - what information has the PCs been given that might have given them cause to learn the ritual required to open the door? Or will pretty much every party have to fight the mummies (still without guarantee they'll figure out how to open the door)? Another clue, like a faded frieze depicting a robed figure throwing powder at the altar or an obscure passage in a book about Mimir the PCs found in the first-floor library of the King's Tower would be good - again, more than one clue and/or more than one way to proceed.

Consider also the goblet in King under the Forest - how are the PCs to know to use it in the basins at the shimmering doorway (or, indeed, how are they to know from which basin to drink)? More signposts are definitely required, as is a clue to link the goblet to the basins in the first place. I guess Bretwald could pipe up, but if you're going to give the players the answers to the puzzles, why put a puzzle in the adventure at all? Failure must be an option within an adventure, with appropriate consequences, without which the players won't feel like they agency over their characters. I'd recommend, going into any gaming group, to have alternative content prepared, just in case the adventurers go off-piste or need a bit more help.

There is a time constraint on the Prince of Darkness (although not a non-fudgeable one), but I would otherwise allow a group to wander away from an adventure/underworld and return to it once they have the information they need to solve a particular challenge. In my version of King under the Forest, the deep pit is actually the entrance to a second level of the dungeon (Mathor's lair), although first-ranked PCs may not realise that - should they ever return, their higher-rank abilities might just detect it... Perhaps one of Vallandar's swords, once it has achieved it's +3 bonus, starts to draw that character back to the tomb; maybe the bag in which the north wind is trapped starts to pull towards the tomb like a lodestone; and so on.

Unless I was particularly strapped for preparation time, I'd never play a published adventure as-published. My current DW group consists of an elementalist, sorcerer, knight, and disciple (a priest-cum-mystic-style profession) which would either breeze through, or be eaten alive by, a published adventure, written as they are for a more traditional party of adventurers! That said, when I put them through Under the Rocks, it was mostly as-written (although I certainly didn't give them a magic weapon at the end of it!)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:09 pm 
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Dreadnought wrote:
But if I had a group where they were getting hung up on a puzzle, and it was reaching the point that failure to solve it was going to make the game stall, I'd get everybody to roll a d20 check versus Intelligence, and hope somebody passed, and if they did give them a clue. "Think about the number 26 - what common thing has 26 variations?" for example. But I only resort to that after giving them a reasonable chance to work it out, and only if its actually stalling the game.

I sometimes do this, too - after all, we don't expect our players to demonstrate their characters' martial abilities in combat by taking arms against the GM, so I don't necessarily expect the players to have the same intellectual or social abilities as their characters, either. Which is also why I play down combat encounters - make them more narrative so the players' creativity is allowed to come to the fore, rather than it simply being a dice-rolling exercise.

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