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Riddle Me This: 1d10 Guessing Riddles for Your Game

My campaign has had a lot of fun with that adventure page included in a mythoard past, which I converted to being the first floor of a dungeon built to test Woarfrost Graduates. It was closed before even one class took an exam there, with adventurer’s guild bureaucrats stamping down such a dangerous event. The school quickly reverted back to tests administered by those officials in the safety of a classroom.

This looks like a fun book, reviews look decent. Hmmm…

Riddle Results

These riddles really had my players thinking and working, enjoying the process of trying to figure them out. I think it was combination of a lot of factors that made last week so much fun.

-The riddles are explicitly not blocking a path forward, and there are eight of them to smack your head against, allowing you to switch tracks if you get stuck and come back later.

-The riddles had a combination of easy, common answers, and original ones that required greater thought. Players got a few quick victories, along with the small rewards behind them, to inspire working hard on the more difficult puzzles knowing that they are possible and rewarding.

-I nixed the one-answer-only called for in the text. Originally, this was done to prevent the players losing out on their chance just seeing how to respond or one of their number making dumb guesses. The text visibly darkened, telling them to get serious before trying again.

-The ad-hoc method of giving hints worked out well. A DC 15 INT check would get them one hint, and a DC 20 INT check would get them a second hint. My brain did good work, as I was able to come up with hints that followed the theme of the riddle, while describing the answer in a slightly different fashion. I cannot suggest having this as a backup more highly. Just when my players were out of ideas, I offered up this as a way to let their characters abilities do some work without just rolling for the answer.

-Only one riddle remains unsolved, as they got themselves into a fight with the chamber guardians. Four were solved on the first pass, one solved on the second guess, one solved with a single hint, and the seventh solved upon getting the second hint. Every person was the brainpower behind solving at least one riddle. Something else to consider when designing puzzles or riddles. Create many smaller parts that more than one person can contribute to.

I hope you find my experiences running a riddle encounter useful. Below are 10 simple riddles you can use in your game. Each of them has a word or words as answers, with two suggested hints for if and when your players get stuck. The second hint is, in my mind at least, more of a dead give away and should be harder to get.

1d10 Riddles

1. Like a child’s toy you dance.  Like a child’s toys askance.

Man and beast find me a thorn; From a bag, I am born.

[Caltrops] (Hint 1: If the point is up, take care) (Hint 2: The point is always up)

 

2. Burn it, beat it, make sure its dead.

Brown-brown, Red-brown, Red and red.

[Meat] (Hint 1: Maggots are bad? Maggots are bad.) (Hint 2: Me. Me. Save a cut for me!)

 

3. Black ‘round the eyes, the better to sneak.

Black in your lungs, no longer to speak.

Black in air, fire will shriek.

[Coal]  (Hint 1: Clink clank; Black, on metal beak) (Hint 2: Black from the ground, under the peak)

 

4. I sit in the eyes of merchants and paupers alike.

In my opening, beauty is seen.

Look upon my swirl of color.

[Iris] (Hint 1: Is it all in your head or is it down to earth?) (Hint 2: I am largest in darkness or in sunny spring.)

5. His pride is all he cares for, yet he will ignore the finest jewels and baubles. No matter your sweet words, you could never place a crown upon his head.

[Lion] (Hint 1: He must defend against men that would take everything from him) (Hint 2: His shout will make you shudder and his golden hair is admired.)

6. Bramble bungalows, bearing bright. Burrows bristling, blooms blessed. Bumbling. Brood.

[Bees] (Hint 1: Bared behinds brought by bother.) (Hint 2: Baritone buzzing. Bleating bears.)

7. Struck, Struck, Struck again, the needles in my eye. Hurry! Quickly! Tell me, exactly which am I? [Target] or [10 o’clock] (Hint 1: Circles. ‘round and ‘round they go.) (Hint 2: Impossible, they say, for two needles here to meet exactly!)

8. Round and round, the trees they went, no pointer could show the way.

Not after their guide was rent, could they hope to get away.

What are they?

[Lost] (Hint 1: If only they had brought, collected, wandering thought.) (Hint 2: Time is the cost, the whole being criss-crossed. Look to the side of the trees mossed!)

9. His call produces a hound. His home contains a whole plane in. His dismissal stops magic around. This wizard …

[Mordenkainen] (Hint 1: The master to the master of the hand.) (Hint 2: His name is studied by mages new and old.)

10. Serpent of metal, reaver;

That razor edge, curved star;

A red crescent, cleaver;

I draw forth my …

[Scimitar] (Hint 1: At arms length, it bites deepest.) (Hint 2: Without me, the Janissary is not dressed.)

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