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Good puzzles


First Post
I just skimmed a very long thread about puzzles in game, and a lot of people didn't like puzzles because they were poorly constructed. I think people might enjoy them more if they were well made.

My question to you is: How do you make a good puzzle?

I'll start:
1. Failure to solve the puzzle should not bring the game to a screaching halt.
2. The puzzle should have a legitimate reason for existing.


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3. Puzzle should either be logical or done through hints dropped in-game. Don't make a puzzle the PCs have no hope of ever solving unless you have to come out and directly tell them certain facts or clues.


First Post
4. The simplest of puzzels can baffle a group, while the most complex can be walked through with ease...mold puzzles to your group, don't use prefabs.


First Post
I don't know if you'd count this as a 'puzzle', but I ran a campaign once where I tried to give the players themselves some extra challenges. For example, once I purchased a cheap, second hand lock-box at a flea market ... filled it with pennies that I'd painted gold and silver, plus a pair of "Very Fine" juice bottles that I labled "potion". :)

I told the players they could roll "pick locks" at any time, but if they could actually get the box open on their own I would give them an xp bonus (I forget how much). They worked on it for over an hour and never did get it open but had a blast with it. They still bring that story up from time to time ...


First Post
Ah, a physical prop. Great suggestion. Puzzle boxes, chessboards, matchsticks. Lots of people are more physical thinkers and it can be very hard to visualize a purely mental puzzle sometimes.


First Post
With the advent of 3E, I now write up a small chart of clues for intelligence checks:

DC 15: Minor Hint
DC 20: Resonable Hint
DC 25: Good Hint
DC 30: All 3 hints

The only problem, of course, is that what a GM considers a good hint may fall flat while a minor hint could be to revealing. Thats the joys of puzzles, they can be a crap shoot at times.

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