November 3, 2009

Riddles- Part 1


This is part of a 3-part article dealing with riddles in an rpg adventure. Part 1 deals with incorporating riddles into an adventure whereby the solution is specific to the adventure. Part 2 is more generic, providing riddles for general use as opposed to a specific use. Part 3 talks about finding new riddles and even provides a way to create your own original riddles. 

Riddles have been a part of the fantasy genre for years now; especially RPGs. DMs enjoy confounding the players with a clever riddle. A new GM may be at a loss of how to add a riddle to an encounter, but it is rather easy. Other GMs may not be able to think of a new and interesting riddle (fish and teeth have been taken by Gollum for years now).

Herein I present a couple dozen riddles that can be used. I also give some ideas of how they can be used to make the riddle more fulfilling and interesting beyond the riddle itself.



Here are some riddles. If you enjoy riddles you can try and figure them out before scrolling down for the answers. If you don’t, or are just impatient, you can scroll down and see how these riddles can be integrated into an encounter to make it more interesting.

1) Flat as a leaf, round as a ring. Has two eyes, but can’t see a thing.
2) Created before today, but made today. This thing is used most when others are asleep.
3) Passed from father to son, shared between brothers. Yours is very important, but is used more by others.
4) It has no mouth, but can speak every language it hears.
5) They have six faces, but are nose and mouth free. They have twenty one eyes, but still cannot see.
6) An iron roof and all glass walls. Burns and burns. But never falls.
7) This thing was here before your life began, yet it is never more than one month old.
8) When it falls it cannot be seen. When it gets up, it cannot be looked upon.
9) Goes through a door, but never comes in a door, and never goes out a door.
10) They have no flesh or feathers. They have no scales or bone. Yet they still have fingers all of their own.
11) No sooner spoken than broken. What is it?
12) What can you hold without ever touching or using your hands?
13) KOOL FBOREE OYU


Here follow the answers to the riddles along with some ideas of how to integrate them a bit more fully into an encounter.

1Q) Flat as a leaf, round as a ring. Has two eyes, but can’t see a thing
1A) Button
There are a lever and a button on a wall. Above them is this riddle. Pushing the button opens the door, releases the treasure, something good, etc and pulling the lever causes the monster to be released or sends a current of negative energy through the user.

2Q) Created before today, but made today. This thing is used most when others are asleep.
2A) Bed
Upon a scrap piece of paper tucked into the back on a desk drawer is this riddle. There is a secret door under the bed and this will point the way.

3Q) Passed from father to son, shared between brothers. Yours is very important, but is used more by others.
3A) Name
Upon the iron bound doors within the tomb, this riddle inscribed. In order to bypass doors, the name of the builder or the person entombed therein must be spoken aloud here.

4Q) It has no mouth, but can speak every language it hears.
4A) Echo
Two plaques are embedded into the rock wall overlooking the 100’drop into the lava below. The first states ‘Speak the name of the god of thunder correctly and the bridge will appear. The name of this god is common knowledge, so at first this seems like an easy challenge.
On the second plaque is the riddle. The characters must speak the name of the god and then another character must speak it again, and a mystical bridge will appear allowing them across the chasm.

5Q) They have six faces, but are nose and mouth free. They have twenty one eyes, but still cannot see.
5A) Dice.
There is a pair of magical dice within the room. When they are thrown they cause damage to the thrower (by coincidence an amount equal to the number thrown). The goal is to roll a 7 and then another 7 on the second roll. Doing so opens the hidden door within the room. The riddle is to make the characters realize that using the dice may have some benefit after all.

6Q) An iron roof and all glass walls. Burns and burns. But never falls.
6A) Lantern
This riddle is written on a scrap piece of paper lying innocuously amongst some other papers. Within the room is a lantern. The room is already well lit. When the lantern is lit within the room, it shines a blue beam of light, marking a hidden door on the wall.

7Q) This thing was here before your life began, yet it is never more than one month old.
7A) Moon
8Q) When it falls, it cannot be seen. When it gets up, it cannot be looked upon.
8A) Sun
There are two doors 5’ apart from each other on the same wall. Above one door is the symbol of the Sun and above the other is the Moon. The first riddle is on the wall between the two doors. Choosing the Moon door leads further into the dungeon. Choosing the Sun door, at this point, releases a monster.
The next room has the same two doors, but this time the riddle is the second riddle. This time the Sun door is the safe path into the dungeon and the Moon door leads to a hallway filled with traps and a dead-end.

9Q) Goes through a door, but never comes in a door, and never goes out a door.
9A) Keyhole
This riddle is found on a random piece of paper. Solving the riddle allows the players a second roll (with a large bonus) to spot the hidden keyhole that is in the room, since they have figured out something of the sort must be nearby.

10Q) They have no flesh or feathers. They have no scales or bone. Yet they still have fingers all of their own.
10A) Gloves
This tunnel has a lever that will lower the drawbridge over the chasm. Unfortunately, the lever is rigged so whenever someone touches it they take a hefty jolt of electricity. This jolt causes damage and immobilizes the character (causing more damage each round until the other characters remove him). The riddle is written on the wall off to the side. Wearing any type of glove negates the jolt.

11Q) No sooner spoken than broken. What is it?
11A) Silence
This is written on the wall before a door into another room. Making any noise within the next room (and I would enforce this by making the players also be quiet) and a monster is summoned into the room. The monster is utterly quiet and if more noise is made within the room, such as during combat, more monsters are summoned, 1 per round.

12Q) What can you hold without ever touching or using your hands?
12A) Breath
A riddle is written on the door leaving this room. The next room has a gas with no smell. It is very toxic, but it easily countered by simply holding your breath.

13Q) KOOL FBOREE OYU
13A) Leap
This riddle is embedded into the floor right before the door that leads into a short hallway. Just beyond the door is a pit trap and jumping from the doorway will get a person over it safely.
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