A puzzle for PCs

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
This is a test to see how hard it is to solve this next puzzle. (and how fast)

If you figure it out, please don't post the solution right away. (you can send me a personal message)

You have 2 days. Thank you.



MDWPNXWB MAJPXWB



 
I've got two answers. Anyone else? Just give it a shot.
I'm almost certain it's a cryptogram, but without any more info, I'm lost.
Simple Caesar shift, took me 20 seconds to run through all the possibilities, although I did use my computer. Would take a while longer by hand but easily doable.
Ego
144902215 wrote:
Morgothra has the Syntax and Grammar of a God.
56754738 wrote:
I love this card.
56771968 wrote:
I can't compete with this.
57461258 wrote:
@Morgothra: Beautifully said, sir. Beautifully said.
Contest Winners
CKY, magicpablo666 and Dinobeer combined ingenuity and silliness to win a Summer fUn contest each! vlord beat the rest to become the architect of a better tomorrow in Build it and they will come! CityofAs pranced masterfully to victory in Skipping Merrily! ConfusedAsUsual conquered both tropes and opponents to ascend in Metafiction! FirstTurnKill condensed Success into Art form in Summing it Up!
OK. Thaks to everyone that tried. The two members that answered (besides Morgothra, good job) were gamersince1980 and Xaspian. Also, honourable mention svendj.

It doesn't seem to be that hard after all, however the people that did answer seem to know about the Caesar cipher. I don't expect the PCs to come up with an answer right away, at the session.

They'll find these messages around the game world, and hopefully, when they go home and in between a few sessions figure it out. Think of it as "breaking the fourth wall". It should help immersion, roleplay, and camaraderie(I did start the adventure the cliche 
way - on a ship, with all the PCs in the brig and I want to increase the cohesion of the group)

It's easier (at least for me) to deliver the story when the group is not just a band of pirates that will backstab each other when the first opportunity arises. Wink

For those of you that are asking yourselves "WTF is a caesar cipher?!" - www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMOZf4GN3oc
I always applaud the use of puzzles in-game to add some flavor but I have found one things to be certain:

Players never have as much information as you think they have.


Came across a very simple puzzle in our current campaign. We spent 25+ mins staring at the darn thing before just deciding to walk away.

The puzzle consisted of a number of gemstones, one of which needed to be pulled out and placed in a statue. As it turns out, the one we needed was the diamond, it was the only one of the set that didn't contain a double letter. Childishly easy once you realized it, and the DM was so disappointed we didn't pick up on it, but the PC is working with a very different set of information than most DMs assume.

If you want them to solve your puzzle, be willing to spoon feed a bit. Especially if you want them to solve it out of game.
Came across a very simple puzzle in our current campaign. We spent 25+ mins staring at the darn thing before just deciding to walk away.

The puzzle consisted of a number of gemstones, one of which needed to be pulled out and placed in a statue. As it turns out, the one we needed was the diamond, it was the only one of the set that didn't contain a double letter. Childishly easy once you realized it, and the DM was so disappointed we didn't pick up on it, but the PC is working with a very different set of information than most DMs assume.

If you want them to solve your puzzle, be willing to spoon feed a bit. Especially if you want them to solve it out of game.


I'm not surprised you walked away. There's a massive disconnect between "put gemstones in holes" and "count how many times the letters are present in the name of the stone". Your DM should feel silly, not disappointed. 
Two of the players are historians and one is a mathematician. They can also use the internet in between sessions.

If I reward them handsomely (or by making them gain recognition with the good guys, or notoriety with the bad) it will serve as positive reinforcement for solving future puzzles. That way, I can increase the number and difficulty of puzzles gradually (like in Portal) and they would still enjoy it.

I think it's a step in the right direction. Will report back on how it goes. 


Came across a very simple puzzle in our current campaign. We spent 25+ mins staring at the darn thing before just deciding to walk away.

The puzzle consisted of a number of gemstones, one of which needed to be pulled out and placed in a statue. As it turns out, the one we needed was the diamond, it was the only one of the set that didn't contain a double letter. Childishly easy once you realized it, and the DM was so disappointed we didn't pick up on it, but the PC is working with a very different set of information than most DMs assume.

If you want them to solve your puzzle, be willing to spoon feed a bit. Especially if you want them to solve it out of game.


I'm not surprised you walked away. There's a massive disconnect between "put gemstones in holes" and "count how many times the letters are present in the name of the stone". Your DM should feel silly, not disappointed. 



That's pretty much my point. He thought it was completely obvious based on this train of thought while we were working from an entirely different angle.

I think the idea of offering them a serious reward is good. Maybe even offer up a small puzzle first to incline them toward thinking outside of the box.
Hmm... does anyone know any good lockpicking puzzle?
One that was really good for our group, and took them a long time to figure out...

They enter a room, in the middle is a table with a perfectly square top, along with 10 identical, stone sized chips. The phrase underneath was 'To Pass, all sides must be equal'...there was also a hallway leading out of this room that was magically dark and absorbed all light. If they choose to skip the puzzle,  and simply walk down the hallway, they magically re-appeared at the entrance to the room and took 10 psychic damage. When they thought they had the stones put in the right order, they'd head down the hallway and same thing would happen. However, once they figured it out, the hallway illuminated and they were free to pass...

I like this, since it is nearly impossible to google. Plus it lead to some funny ideas.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />
Show
put 2 stones on each of the 4 sides, then put 1 stone in one corner (doesn't matter which one) and 1 stone in the opposite (diagonal) corner. That way no matter how you slice it, each side has 2.5 stones.


Another time, they found a trap door, inscribed next to it was the following,
'The rich want it.
The poor have it.
If you eat it, you will die.'

Show
Nothing
The problem with the puzzle in the OP is that, without a computer, it's tedious. You might hit on the solution of character shifting right away: honestly, that was my immediate thought on seeing the characters. However, now you have 25 possible iterations to go through, so you could fail 24 times through no fault of your own to get the right answer.

Good puzzles have a eureka moment, where you've suddenly figured out the logic behind it and then they wind up solving themselves. This is missing that. You may think it's a simple cipher, but there's nothing to confirm that until after you've run through the combinations.

Now, if this was a more complex cipher that required a key, and discovering the key was the thrust of the puzzle, that would be better.
Hmm... does anyone know any good lockpicking puzzle?


 
I think the food chain puzzle is a nice simple one to integrate, especially in forest dungeons or environments. It's usually not too difficult for players to suss but still provides gratification when they do. =) I generally have it where there are 5 wooden removable carvings in the door, with the following etched into them: a pouncing wolf, a huntsman aiming a bow, a tree of some description, a bounding deer and a raincloud partially covering the sun. 

The players would have to remove the carvings and place them in order of the chain, from left to right:
The sun/raincloud, the tree, the deer, the wolf and the huntsman. 
Obviously these can be changed as the DM sees fit so long as it follows a food chain!

If the players do get stumped, it's easy to provide a brute force alternative, especially if the door is made of a weaker material such as wood. I've also had players of mine in the past find riddles easier than most other puzzles, so it could be an idea to have one carved into the door to provide a clue for the answer (e.g, a riddle with the solution 'chain'). Obviously that isn't true for everyone, so catering for your players strengths and weaknesses is important!

edit:// Or matchstick puzzles! bones/sticks slotted into grooves in the door work as a substitute. Infuriating but fun and often solveable. 
 


Now, if this was a more complex cipher that required a key, and discovering the key was the thrust of the puzzle, that would be better.




You're right. It is, essentially, a brute force attack. There's nothing to indicate what's the shift.

Now the problem is how to subtly tell them what's the shift. Make another puzzle? Make them find a guy in the middle of decryption with 3 letters done out of 20. Might be too obvious...

Obvious isn't bad... obvious gets solved. Solving is good. Solving rewards your players for playing.
So it's all about the illusion of being smart, because of DM's inability to judge the intelligence of the player and therefore the inability to make an adequately difficult puzzle.

Damn, I should've studied psychology... Laughing
When trying to drop hints for the players, there's something called the Rule of Three. You give them three hints, because it's virtually assured that no matter what, they will ignore one and miss another.

So, let's say that your cipher contains the steps necessary to unlock a specially constructed vault that was part of a dragon's (we'll call him Puff) hoard. If they don't follow those instructions, a series of dangerous or even deadly traps will trigger on the would-be hoard robbers. So, we'll make the key "puff." Might the players guess it right off the bat? Sure. If so, good for them.

For hints, you have a ratty journal of some dead scholar or treasure hunter who is convinced "the dragon is the key." There's a book found earlier in the dungeon, likely first acquired by our treasure hunter, that talks about a fabled treasure hidden by Puff, who ensured that whoever wanted the treasure would need him to get it. Finally, when they reach the entrance to the vault, they find an inscription: "Enter in my name or face death." Meanwhile, there are those mysterious ciphers scattered through the whole thing in prominent places, including one by the last inscription
Fascinating. Very useful advice, thanks.