Page 1126 - Partied Out

6th Oct 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 2
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Partied Out
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 6th Oct 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
So it's been delayed by flu, and a thrown-out back, and scrubbing out rampant audio issues, but the finale of Tales of New Dunhaven has seen a lot of progress in editing and will be released soon. It's just been a crazy couple of weeks.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Digo Dragon 6th Oct 2018, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
This page is the poster child for why "clever GM riddles" aren't always clever. :3
ThatGuest 6th Oct 2018, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
I had a GM once get suuuuper hostile at me once for figuring out his 'brilliant riddle and puzzle' in like....15 seconds. He was livid that we got through that part so fast and barely thought about it.
Luna 6th Oct 2018, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
When making a riddle as a GM, assume the player will either never figure it out or find the answer right away. And never, ever assume that things will go as you expected them to.

And if they do ? Make sure you are actually awake and if so, savor the moment that might never happen again !
ThatGuest 6th Oct 2018, 7:17 AM edit delete reply
The riddle took like 10 minutes to get through because it was connected to this fable that he had made up, we all got bored listening to the story that just kept going and meandered. Then he finally finished it

Me: "This bridge is a fake illusion. The real one is right here." *walks across thin air followed by everyone else with little fanfare or acknowledgement.*
Freelance 9th Oct 2018, 2:07 AM edit delete reply
My DnD DM made a riddle out of Weird Al Yankovic songs in a session. Shame I wasn't familiar with his songography to get any of the references to solve.
Draxynnic 6th Oct 2018, 7:16 AM edit delete reply
Soooo many puzzles turn into "try to read the mind of the puzzle designer" rather than "find the objectively correct answer".
Digo Dragon 6th Oct 2018, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I will admit that in my early GM career I was prone to that problem. I learned to make my puzzles a little more on straightforward math/science so that the players can figure it out without esoteric means. But really, I just try not to do many puzzles to begin with. ^^;
fibio 6th Oct 2018, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
I once had a player manage to "solve" every single riddle wrong for an entire sension. Basically getting the solution backwards and proceeding to do the most dangerous thing possible...

He nearly had to reroll.
Borg 6th Oct 2018, 8:18 AM edit delete reply
Do you know whether he was solving them backwards on purpose, or was just doing a really bad job with the riddles?
nathan400 6th Oct 2018, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
I don't remember if I said this before here, but here we go:
I've found one of the best ways to do riddles is don't actually have answers for them. That way when the players think of a clever approach, BOOM! It's now the right answer.
Winged Cat 6th Oct 2018, 10:39 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
What nathan said. Or have multiple answers, one of which the players can uncover.

Right now I'm writing a murder mystery adventure. Part of the design is to allow any combination of suspects to happen to be "correct", if the players develop strong preferences (while giving a "canon" answer, for those who care for that approach, of "all the suspects did it").
Guest 7th Oct 2018, 6:38 AM edit delete reply
Personally I can't stand that kind of quantum ogre, any-path-you-choose-is-the-right-path things.

If you're putting a challenge in front of the PCs, they should have a chance to fail or choices to make. Otherwise you're just pretending they succeeded by their own capacities, while they were tricked into a rigged boxing match.
nathan400 11th Oct 2018, 9:11 AM edit delete reply
Failure is indeed always an option in my games. I won't accept just any answer my players come up with unless it's both clever and fitting to the situation. My players have failed before and will do so again.
Platonix 6th Oct 2018, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
I was part of a BESM game once where the prologue section involved us getting entangled in the affairs of a revolutionary army. They were operating in a morally grey area where it wasn't clear whether they were bad people, or good people forced to take unpleasant measures. At the end of the prologue, the party had to choose whether to side with the revolutionaries or the government... and, as he explained later, the GM's intent was that whichever choice we made would turn out to be the 'right' choice. Whichever side we supported would turn out to be the ones with the moral high ground.

However, this was a BESM game. For those not familiar, that stands for Big Eyes Small Mouth, the Anime-Style Role-playing Game, and it lets players have practically any kind of power they want as long as they have the Character Points to afford it. So the party is basically cross-examining the head of the revolutionary army, to make sure they make the right decision, and the GM belatedly realizes that one of the party members has the perfect combination of powers to make sure the head can't possibly lie to us or otherwise decieve us. The moral position of the revolutionary army can't be anything other than what this NPC says it is. So the GM found himself forced to make the call that he'd intended to let us make.
RuBoo 27th Nov 2019, 6:01 PM edit delete reply
...That's when the GM should've gone all TESV:S on the party. Both sides have a point, neither has the moral high ground, and you're always on the right side... From a certain point of view.
Anvildude 6th Oct 2018, 11:35 AM edit delete reply
Guess I'm rather lucky. My group's current DM is actually really, really good with puzzles. Even when he gets them offline instead of designing them himself, he's really good at introducing them and setting everything up.

One of the things he does is he gives an obvious reaction to any action we take with the controls or whatever. It lets us keep track of things, and figure out- through trial and error if need be- what the right answer is, even if we don't have any clue at how the riddle itself is answered.
ThatGuest 6th Oct 2018, 12:34 PM edit delete reply
I set up a mystery once for my players and left them several different ways to figure out who the culprit was. The path they ended up taking was discovering that the culprit had a violent reaction to skin contact with silver. So they gathered everyone up....and threw hand fulls of silver pieces at them. The guy who started sizzling and screaming in agony was their perpetrator.
Bezerker21 6th Oct 2018, 4:17 PM edit delete reply
I remember one time I was a ranger and I'd figured out that a local alchemist was the real villain and had killed his wife and was misleading the town with transformed rat people. Unfortunately one if the characters had a good relationship with the guy and refused to believe my character's instinct, demanding physical proof (kudos to her for roleplaying to that extent). I couldnt figure out where the DM had the alchemist hide his notes and the DM said it was too late. That night our characters were awoken by screams and when we tracked them down the alchemist had created a chimera with his kids. We got caught up fighting it and by the time we had tracked the fucker down enough time had passed he'd become a lich, forcing us to call in the favor we'd gotten from a young golden dragon. Long story short listen to the ranger or you'll have to ask a friendly dragon to save your ass
CrowMagnon 7th Oct 2018, 7:56 AM edit delete reply
I like to try to put elements of mystery into the campaigns I create, but they tend to not work very well with my group. Biggest example of that was one arc of the pony game we'd been playing.

One of the PCs in the party is an orphaned unicorn filly with a genius knack for machinery. She actually got her cutie mark on a critical success while fixing an airship engine. Anyway, the relevant part here is that she got a message from someone claiming to be her father, inviting her and the rest of the party to meet at his estate.

Along the way, they were harassed by what seemed to be a reality-warper called "D" with a serious grudge against the filly's dad. Now, if I'd been better at reading the room or presenting things in a better way, maybe it would've been different.

As it was, by the time it got to the big reveal that the dad was the main antagonist of the arc (thanks to one of the major villains of the campaign tampering with his memories to make him think Celestia was a power-mad tyrant who had taken away his wife and daughter) and that "D" was a mental construct formed out of his subconscious realizing that something was wrong, but unable to figure out what, it had gotten harder and harder for certain members of the group to actually give a crap over something that I'd hoped would hook them in.
Wulfraed 7th Oct 2018, 7:57 AM edit delete reply
Or failed to take into account player backgrounds... Believe I mentioned this one ages ago but...

Party encounters traditional 10x10x? (50ft) corridor. Corridor had heavy metal doors at each end. Also had a narrow channel in the floor with iron grates, and a series of barred openings near the top of the side walls.

I nearly immediately thought "water trap". The locks of Sault Ste. Marie.

Turns out the GM had based the trap on... the locks in Panama.
Dragonflight 7th Oct 2018, 8:34 PM edit delete reply
My favorite is actually not a game I've ever been in. It's Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.

In it, the protagonists are trying to figure out where the near-mythical Second Foundation is. They know it's some kind of think tank prediction engine run by super-geniuses, and the protagonists need it's help to get the First Foundation back on track after an "X" factor threatens to muck up Hari Seldon's 1,000 year Plan.

The only clue they have is that Seldon put the Second Foundation "at the other end of the galaxy from the First Foundation." The entire book is about the characters trying to figure out where that could be, especially in a post-Collapse galaxy, where there's no communication, precious little reliable star travel, and lots of little warlords all over the place.

What they eventually realize is that Seldon was a cultural specialist, and to him, the exact opposite of the isolated little pocket system which the Foundation was based out of would be Trantor, the former head of the galactic government, and the melting pot of the entire galactic civilization. He'd see the "other end of the galaxy" from a *cultural* perspective, instead of a physical one.

Sure enough, they find the Second Foundation on the ruins of the old government world. But still, it's a classic example of a supposedly-clever clue which almost derails the search because whoever thought it up was being TOO clever.
Greenhornet 6th Oct 2018, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
For some reason, this reminds me of "it's always in the last place you look". Because when you find "it", you stop looking. DUH!
That could be an annoying riddle:
"Even if it turns out to be the first place, it will be the last place". Or something like that.
ChaoticBrain 6th Oct 2018, 3:41 PM edit delete reply
The only reason it sounds like a stupid idiom is because people misphrase it all the time. The correct saying is "It's in the last place that you'd expect".

If you intend to search for something, you tend to check the most likely places first. The idiom suggests that you subvert common sense by instead checking in the least likely place first, i.e. the place where you would normally think to check last.
Greenhornet 7th Oct 2018, 5:17 AM edit delete reply
Exactly. And also:
"I'm looking for something."
"Where did you leave it?"
Shenkyei Rambo 6th Oct 2018, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
second last panel is a perfect visual description of her realization
Ranakastrasz 6th Oct 2018, 11:21 AM edit delete reply
Which one? The hotsauce or the riddle?
Freelance 9th Oct 2018, 2:12 AM edit delete reply
....... Yes?
Riddle 6th Oct 2018, 2:37 PM edit delete reply
I got this from a Dungeon Master Novel, wonder how many will get it.

A stone door with a phrase

"The answer is easy: How can you divide a cake for three persons?"
ThatGuest 6th Oct 2018, 3:37 PM edit delete reply
Meteor Swarm.
Guest 6th Oct 2018, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
One Layer per person?
obscurereader 6th Oct 2018, 4:05 PM Answer possible? edit delete reply
Is the correct answer, "Easily,"?
you know that guy 6th Oct 2018, 5:14 PM edit delete reply
"The answer is easy"

But the best answer is using demolition tools to go through the wall next to the door. I loved that scene in Hunter x Hunter.
OneSuchGuest 6th Oct 2018, 4:09 PM edit delete reply
With a knife.
Perfectdoll 6th Oct 2018, 4:10 PM edit delete reply
With a knife?
ThatGuest 6th Oct 2018, 4:12 PM edit delete reply
I find how far out the door enchantment goes then use move earth to make a tunnel around the door.
Riddle 6th Oct 2018, 4:37 PM edit delete reply
Only one of the answer got near the answer, the others failed. I will not tell who.
Echoes 6th Oct 2018, 5:09 PM edit delete reply
"Speak friend, and enter."

The answer is Easy
Riddle 7th Oct 2018, 2:25 PM edit delete reply
We have a winner!

"'The answer is easy'"
Matiekay_13 6th Oct 2018, 7:10 PM Divide the Cake edit delete reply
The answer isn't "easy", it's "a piece of cake" :D
Digo Dragon 8th Oct 2018, 4:45 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Kudos to everyone for avoiding "The cake is a lie" comments. Musta took willpower. XD
Freelance 9th Oct 2018, 2:14 AM edit delete reply
Cake may be yummy, but you'll never run out of pi.
Wordy Guest 8th Oct 2018, 4:40 AM edit delete reply
My answer to the riddle.

To be clear this isn’t a condemnation of you, I just really don’t like that kind of “riddle”
Newbiespud 8th Oct 2018, 12:21 PM edit delete reply
Seconding the XKCD link.
Freelance 9th Oct 2018, 2:19 AM edit delete reply
I had a great-uncle who posited this as a riddle: What is it?
I replied, in my personal sardonic way, that it is a pronoun used to denote an item or being of unknown gender.

Apparently I was the first person to answer that correctly to him.
ThatGuest 8th Oct 2018, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
Let's be honest, most parties would rather invent the first heavy drill boring machine and just tunnel through the wall than waste time thinking about a riddle. Or just blow everything up, if the dungeon collapses then all the bad guys inside are dead.

*Just flooded an entire cavern system once to drown everything inside rather than waste time in a well advertised maze*
Guest 7th Oct 2018, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
The problems with "where it began" is that, there is many beginings, and many "it".

At least they didn't start running to the cave where the founders of Equestria defeated the Windigoes.
Digo Dragon 9th Oct 2018, 5:42 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
So does that mean Twilight can take XKCD's advice and cut off Discord's hand?