The irl challenge

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In the few games that I have done, I have found that some of the best ways to get the whole 'roleplaying' thing into the game in a interesting manner is to us stuff irl
I dont mean figures etc I mean traps or effects that are put upon the players for doing things irl

So for example, while going through the 7 sins of hell, the group arrive at gluttony, they all role a will save to see if they are over come and rush to eat food at the large table set before them - however the role means nothing, if the adventurers have eaten any of the food i brought to the event and continue to eat, then the effect of gluttony in game continues - those who havent eaten are uneffected

Have you guys got any other ideas as to how to use irl things in game that you have either done yourself, or have been done to you? 
Puzzles!

Last year i had a puzzle with symbols corresponding to letters that the PC had to decipher and some where missing and they all worked on different part of the message and joined the message once completed at the end and one read it out loud.

Also two years ago i did a puzzle that revolved around placing 9 symbols in a 9x9 grid without repeating any in the same line, block or column in a old dwarven hold. I had players work it out IRL.   

Player still refers to it as the Dwarven Sudoku ! Wink

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

All of my PCs are smokers. I made a house rule saying that, if they want to smoke irl, they also have to smoke in-game. It isn't a problem if they are strolling through town or resting. However, if one of them is smoking during a fight, they have to either throw away the cigarette/put out the pipe in-game and put out the cig irl, or gain a certain penalty for smoking during combat.

I was thinking of doing the same with food, but I'd be deemed a psychopath and a barbarian by my PCs. Boy, do they like their food.
We have a DM who used food once. Some of it was 'poisoned'. I can never look at a beer the same way.
I love this kind of ****.

Last month, I incorporated something along these lines into my Dark Sun game. The players were meeting with a powerful psionicist (Agis of Asticles, if you know the Dark Sun world) and at one point he sat in a circle with them and meditated with them, drawing them into his mind and testing their mental abilities.

I wanted to run this as a puzzle, but one that did not use any rolls--a puzzle for the players irl. Although I think using Mastermind or Sudoku or other grid/number/logic puzzles is a good stand-in for the unreplicatable mystical-puzzle stuff in games, I didn't want to do that for this one.

Instead, I drew on a bar game that a friend of mind loved to play whenever we had a guest at our weekly happy hour. He calls it "sculpting":

“Close your eyes. Feel the heat of the crimson sun. Focus on your body; be very aware of it. Then, go inward. Focus on what is inside your body.”

They sit for some time in the sun. Sweat beads on their bodies; Zuri’s amber body grows hot. Shortly, as Agis said, they begin to go inward.

They are sitting in a cool oasis, on the sandy bank of a pool of azure water. Golden whipgrass rustles around them, and the gauzy white boughs of chiffon trees hang over their heads.

“Good,” says Agis. “Watch the pool. I’m going to try to make a sculpture.”

As they watch, an amorphous form rises out of the center of the pool. It is difficult to make out what it is; it seems like it’s on the edge of their minds, but the result slips away and escapes them.

“It’s a sculpture of one of you. Can you tell which one?”


At this point, I made a little "sculpture" in the middle of our table using a big handful of pencils and some dice. Earlier, at the beginning of the session, I had taken a huge bundle of 20+ pencils out of my bag and ostentatiously put it behind my screen, and sure enough, some player had made a crack about it. "Lotta pencils there. Sure ya need 'em all? Har har har". I had responded very solmenly, "Oh, yes, we're going to need them all tonight. I hope I brought enough," which confused them a little.

Now, very carefully, I arranged the pencils into a cryptic grid-like structure, carefully angling some off in one direction, stacking others like Lincoln logs, stroking my chin as I stared at the half-completed "sculpture" before shaking my head and removing one, etc. I finished by carefully placing dice turned to their maximum values around the grid. My players leaned in, trying to figure out the puzzle of the "sculpture" and which one of them it was supposed to represent. Was it where the pencils were pointing? Did the order I placed them down matter? Maybe you started with the guy who the pencil was pointing to and counted off around the circle the numbers on the dice? I gave no hints, but would just say in-character as Agis, "Can you see now? I think it very much looks like one of you!" and the like.

If they guessed accurately, I would clear the sculpture and make another one to test that they'd figured it out. If they had, "Agis" would invite them to try sculpting one of their companions (or me!). If they could do that, it was clear the player had figured it out. Now he was my accomplice, and we would continue until they'd all got it or we got bored.

If they had a hard time guessing, I'd clear the sculpture and make a new one, and again, and again. As time went on and no one had guessed, and they grew frustrated, I gradualyl made the sculptures simpler and simpler. I would perhaps eventually be down to using just one pencil (carefully laid down, of course). The simpler the sculptures get, the easier it would be for someone to figure it out.

The answer, of course, is that the "sculpture" itself didn't matter in the slightest. I would begin by mentally choosing who I was going to sculpt. Then I would lay out the pencils/dice/whatever in any random pattern that seemed like I was putting a lot of thought into. Then I would say, "All right, the sculpture is done." At that point I would immediately sit back and position myself exactly like the person who I was sculpting. Fist on the chin, leaning forward or back in the chair, whatever. When they picked up their drink for a sip, I picked up mine. If they fiddled with their cellphone or miniature, I fiddled with mine. If they reached to point at part of the sculpture, I did too (masking it by pretending I was pointing something out as well).

If you have a group of all super-technical-logical-mathheads, this might not work, because they will all be busy furrowing their brows and calculating the sine of the Fibonacci sequence and blah blah blah and miss the obvious aping going on. But usually most people can eventually get it, especially as the sculpture becomes easier and they realize it probably doesn't have much to do with the sculpture at all. And if someone does something really funny--like getting up to go to the bathroom or whatever--you can decide (depending how long it's gone on for) to either do it with them (perhaps pretending you want to walk and go speak with them in the hallway) or clear the sculpture and say "Let's try another!" to avoid the issue (if that happens right away and it would be too obvious/easy).

We spent around fifty minutes on this puzzle and I think everyone had a lot of fun. In the end, they all figured it out except for the super math guy. As each person figured it out, I had them NOT tell the solution to the group but rather just start "sculpting" themselves. By this point it had gone pretty far and the guys who had figured it out were doing things like pretending to pick their noses or pour water on their heads in order to make the sculptor do it as well (and yet the mathy guy still couldn't figure out why everyone was acting so weird...he tried to ignore them and focus on the angles of the pencils. I think he asked for a protractor at one point). When I figured it had gone on long enough, I said, "Okay, let's all contribute to making a sculpture of (the math guy) and I'm sure he'll get it." So we all threw down a pencil and then all simultaneously starting mimicking him, rubbing our beards and whatnot, until he figured it out.

I had Agis give them a cognizance crystal for each person who figured it out before I put a stop it to it. In the end, I thought it was a very fun puzzle that pushes the boundaries between the game and real life.
One trick I have used is a homemade scroll case (which may or may not be trapped).

Another is a letter from an NPC that a player read out loud to the group, and at an unexpected spot were the words "Exploding Runes" If the player starts reading them they trigger. An oldie but a goodie ;)

I've seen another DM used little crystal vials with food coloring and juice to simulate a potion drinking puzzle. 

Oh, and apparently there are lots of uses for Jenga puzzles at the table. I have yet to try it out.