Strip 552 - "Acceptable Alternative Answers"

14th Oct 2017, 12:00 AM in Cave of No Return
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Rastaba 14th Oct 2017, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
Rastaba
...I respect that the two of them are not puzzle people...but I still feel the urge to tie them up and stick them in a corner until everybody else is done so they don’t get in the way or risk ticking the DM off so that they employ something even worse.

I mean Zero realizes he already got away with breaking down a door once right? He really think they’d let him steam roll every puzzle with a strength check?
Halosty45 14th Oct 2017, 10:39 AM edit delete reply
Halosty45
More importantly, doors in puzzle rooms should be trapped with something unpleasant enough to incentivize doing it properly... or have rewards for doing so.
nathan400 16th Oct 2017, 2:06 AM edit delete reply
nathan400
I've done research and have actually tried it in play. According to all the data I have, the best way to make a puzzle in game is to make a puzzle without an answer.

Not an unanswerable puzzle, mind you, just a puzzle without an answer. This allows you freedom from being tied down to a specific answer, so when your players give you a clever answer, you can just say that they got it right.
Grovestrider 16th Oct 2017, 11:40 AM edit delete reply


I have found that the best way to include puzzles (so that players will choose to solve them) is to have them not necessary.

For example:
The party enters a room that has an open passage way on the other side, in the middle of the room is a transparent force-cage , just small enough to hold a lead-lined heavy chest. Adjacent to each of the four sides of the force cage is a small pedestal with a scroll. On the two walls not possessing exits, there are portraits depicting battles.

In this scenario, the party could choose to simply ignore the puzzle, but know that they will pass up an obvious reward. The puzzle however looks rather obvious (to anyone who has played skyrim), and so usually as such the party will opt toward solving the puzzle.

If there is a trapfinder in the party, I usually include alternative methods to bypass the puzzle so that they can contribute without placing traps unnecessarily (I hate it when players do the whole: take 20 search for traps in the 5-ft square ahead of me, move 5-ft, repeat).
Halosty45 16th Oct 2017, 11:49 AM edit delete reply
Halosty45
You could argue that you can't take 20 for searching for traps, as there are penalties for failure, but since you don't set it off no matter how badly you do, it's not clear whether they meant for that to be the case. Failing disable device checks or jump checks have immediate obvious penalties. Failing a search or spot check to notice treasure merely has no positive outcome. Thus, search checks to find traps could go either way. Another way to handle it is after they spend an hour getting merely a quarterish of the way across your 50 foot by 100 foot room, monsters come in because none of their buddies showed up for lunch, and the adventurers get to pretend they're in a small room and have the casters unable to move more than a regular 30 foot movement away from the baddies... or risk entering the rest of the room and getting on with their lives.
Grovestrider 16th Oct 2017, 1:28 PM edit delete reply


I agree that taking 20 on searching for traps is usually prohibited. In actuality, the players aren't "taking 20" but instead using tricks similar to those in 'Another Gaming Comic', where before entering a dungeon purchase a variety of mundane gear such as "16 lead disks weighing 25 lbs; a 10 foot pole; a 20 foot ladder; a makeshift shuffleboard pole; flasks of non-flamable oil; 20lb magnet; sack of 30 half-inch diameter ball-bearings; sack of 20 one-inch diameter ball-bearings; etc"

Then dealing with doors in a similar fashion to those being used here and here.

Then dealing with floors and room in a similar fashion to those being used here and here.

Ultimately what it ends up being is the party being overly paranoid, resulting in 2-4 REAL TIME hours of game sessions where most of the time is spent searching for traps. It isn't fun for GM's or Players.
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