Archive for January, 2009

Writing Riddles

January 18, 2009

In roleplaying games not all challenges are combat related, a number of them will require the participants to think, or to solve a puzzle.

The most traditional of these puzzles are riddles, and writing your own riddles can be a rewarding way of adding personalisation to your campaign.

There are lots of sources of riddles that you can adapt or take wholesale, either online, or from some of our favourite books. The problem with these riddles is that they are not personal to your game, and they provide no challenge to anyone who has heard them before.

It is fairly simple to craft your own riddles, but it needs a bit of time and practice to do well, so be sure to leave yourself an hour or so to concentrate on the task, it’s hard to do in a rush or to make up a good riddle on the spot.

First off, pick the answer to the riddle, it can either be generic (a cloud, a mountain) or specific (Jenny, the king’s youngest daughter). Once you have the solution, think of a few characteristics of the item (a cloud could be fluffy and white, or dark and foreboding). It generally helps to write these ideas down, they’ll form the core of your riddle.

Once you have defining characteristics, you have to turn them into a clue. Riddles are often formed from rhyming couplets. Don’t be afraid to stretch a rhyme a little or to use odd sentence structure, it is almost expected.

“A fleece flung high for all to see, reddened at night glad shepherds be” – a cloud.

This riddle requires knowledge of old sayings, and also uses the imagery of sheep and shepherds to hide the true meaning. Don’t be afraid to try several versions and shift words around until you feel happy with the way it reads, and also how difficult the riddle feels.

Difficultly can be hard to judge, especially when you start out. Test your first few riddles against your players in non-critical situations, the only way to gauge the diffculty is against your play group, as some will solve riddles far better than others.

Have fun writing your own riddles, you’ll enjoy it so much more than ripping off the Hobbit, and your players will too.


Evil Cleric – Updated

January 18, 2009

I’ve updated my Evil Cleric character to be compatible with the Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition rules.

The old 3rd Ed stats are still available if you want to use them.

I’ll be looking at updating more characters over time, starting with the most popular.


January 2, 2009

Android is a new game from Fantasy Flight Games, makers of Twilight Imperium.

It’s a science fiction detective game, players take the roles of various investigative characters, and attempt to solve a murder by moving around the Earth and Moon, following up leads and placing evidence on the various suspects.

A game lasts for twelve turns (days) and each day a detective has a certain number of points (time) to spend on various actions. At the end of the game, the player who has accrued the most victory points wins.

You gain victory points by solving the murder (placing enough evidence to convict the suspect you believe is guilty), taking actions at various points of the board, uncovering a deeper conspiracy, or completing your own personal plots.

It’s a complex game, each player has their own character, with unique special rules. Rules change as the game progresses, so different actions are more or less valuable at different times. It is difficult to set up and start playing, but once the game begins and a few turns have been played it gets a lot easier. The game suggests somewhere between 2-4 hours to play, and our first game took nearly twice that.

The art work is good, and the rules are well laid out, with lots of examples. The playing pieces are all sturdy and well made, except for the strategy sheets (that give you hints on how to play your character), these are very flimsy.

As there are many ways to score points, and the ways to score change over the game, it can be hard to be sure who is winning at any given point. This is good as it means there is rarely a clear leader to pick up the hate from the other players.

Each detective has a deck of light cards, and a deck of dark. Light cards are played on you by you, to gain an advantage. Dark cards are played on you by other players, and hinder you. Each card costs a certyain number of points to play, but playing a dark card reduces the number of dark points you can use, until you play a light card, and vice-versa. This encourages you to play both light and dark cards, and playing dark cards on other players can drive a lot of interaction as the game progresses.

In all, a good game if you have a day to devote to it, or a long evening if all players know the rules, and don’t suffer too badly from analysis paralysis.