New DM looking to hook some players into a game...

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hello everyone, new (sort of, I played AD&D in the 80's, which I believe is referred to as 2.0) player looking to start a game night and hoping to hook my friends on the experience.  For a start I was going to set up a simple dungeon crawl type of adventure with a nice reward at the end (but not too nice), but I want that reward to be somewhat challanging to get at, and have a 'hook' to it that would excite my players and make them want to come back and play some more at the end of the adventure.

I have decided after some research that 3.5 sounds like the closest to the AD&D that I remember from my youth, and have acquired the key rule books already, and am getting excited to draw up my map and story.

So here is my idea, and I was hoping for a little help.  I would like to put the end reward in a puzzle trap, a puzzle that would require some actual problem solving (maybe a riddle?  a picture puzzle?) as opposed to a die roll, and to be honest, I am not much of a puzzle master (none of my intended players use this forum, as most of them never played before).  Has anyone done something like this?  I mean of course someone else has, more to the point, some ideas on crafting this puzzle would be helpful.  Thanks in advance!
I highly recommend asking your players for input, both in terms of the hook, and the kind of puzzle they'd like to be challenged by. There are "classes" of puzzles, such as riddles, logic puzzles, magic squares, rebus puzzles, etc. and some people only like solving specific kinds of puzzles and dislike other kinds. Once they tell you the kind of puzzle they'd like to solve, you can probably search online for one of that type (or even a book of puzzles of that type) that you could use in your game.

The players might suggest a type that they're very adept at solving. Accept that suggestion, because the players may be trying to set the difficulty of the game to something they're comfortable with.

Make sure that the game doesn't grind to a halt if they can't solve the puzzle. I don't suggest that you let them make "intelligence checks" for clues or anything like that. I mean that if they can't get it, or they get it wrong that the game continue somehow. Allow them to come back. I'm put in mind of shows or stories in which they uncover a mystery in one episode, but don't realize the solution to it for several more episodes.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Puzzles can be fun, but I generally avoid them in the primary progression path as they tend to test player knowledge and not so much Character knowledge.  Requiring the PC's to solve a puzzle to open a door that directly impedes their progress can halt the game, specifically if the puzzle is poorly designed such as the following: 

"To open this door you must arrange ten stones into five rows of four" 

This puzzle could be fairly difficult to solve for a group of PC's, and frustration could mount pretty quickly if it halts the pacing of the game.  A lot of that could be alleviate by presenting the puzzle as a tanget, it is there, but not necessary for the progression of the game, there are alternate ways around the puzzle, such as blasting through the wall, picking locks, etc, or if they can come back to this particular part of the dungeon at a later time after having time to ponder the puzzle.

Alternatives I've heard from other people on the forums include leaving the puzzle half finished or having them encounter the geometric shape at some point prior. 

Lastly, the wording above is very minimalist, mixing a puzzle with a riddle can often help, by dropping hints into the puzzle as to what its outcome could be, instead of presenting a bland puzzle it could be blended with the setting. 

For example:  "When the devils march in 5 rows of 4 the portal to the abyss shall open" and providing 10 statues of marching devils Provides contextual clues as to what shape they could be arranged in.  Especially if the dungeon itself is arranged in the given shape.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
Another option would be to have an NPC accompany the group, and offer subtle hints if they need it. That way they won't get too frustrated if they can't figure it out on their own.
For a start I was going to set up a simple dungeon crawl type of adventure with a nice reward at the end (but not too nice), but I want that reward to be somewhat challanging to get at, and have a 'hook' to it that would excite my players and make them want to come back and play some more at the end of the adventure.

Screw that. Make the reward awesome. Something they talk about for years to come. Something totally off the wall beyond cool that it sticks with them forever. Giving "A level approperiate magical item" won't stick with them, and probably won't entice them to the hobby. 


This being a first game ever, you can get a little crazy with things. Make it really stand out as possible to do "ANYTHING". 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

For a start I was going to set up a simple dungeon crawl type of adventure with a nice reward at the end (but not too nice), but I want that reward to be somewhat challanging to get at, and have a 'hook' to it that would excite my players and make them want to come back and play some more at the end of the adventure.

Screw that. Make the reward awesome. Something they talk about for years to come. Something totally off the wall beyond cool that it sticks with them forever. Giving "A level approperiate magical item" won't stick with them, and probably won't entice them to the hobby. 


This being a first game ever, you can get a little crazy with things. Make it really stand out as possible to do "ANYTHING". 


+1
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
Show
141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Thanks everyone for the responces, I think I found the puzzle I want, it's simple (so as not to frustrate as mentioned above) but challenging enough to be plausable, and I plan on tying it to a sort of trap.  Here is the puzzle (and I figure I can make a foamcore mock up of it to kind of bring in the atmosphere),

www.mathsisfun.com/puzzles/blockslide.ht...
 

According to the website, the minimum amount of moves to solve it is 9, way I'll set up the trap is if it takes more than nine steps, the puzzle is reset, and a trap (as of yet undetermined) will be sprung.  

I get what the last two guys are saying, but I don't want to make the game like it was when I was a kid, and we were all getting epic gear because that made it more 'cool' for us at the time...kind of want to do it right this time...and I really think I can coax my crew into this.  Pizza and beer will help, they always do!    

I'm getting it done in eight

two right              1

one up then left     2,3

three down twice   4,5

one right then up   6,7

two left                8


I do like it, simple enough to figure out quickly.  In fact you might want to tie something else to it, not more brain work but something to raise the stakes and create a little pressure.
 
Thanks Mesterwart3, 8 eh?  I  think I will arrange a mockup so that I can get the bare minimum, I would like it to go something like if you don't solve it in the bare minimum tries, the trap is sprung (or critter is released or summoned), then the tiles (and the corresponding counter) reset to the beginning.  If I have a  foamcore painted prop, I think it could be pretty neat
 
Hmmm, maybe instead of a turn counter, a real life stopwatch?  Or would that take it out of the game too much?
 
Hmmm, maybe instead of a turn counter, a real life stopwatch?  Or would that take it out of the game too much?
 



I would say that is bordering on too high pressure, unless however the puzzle solving prevents a couple of statues coming to life and presents the key to the door without having to fight them.  That way if they fail the time limit they have to fight the statues but are still able to succeed.

-just as an example.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"

I get what the last two guys are saying, but I don't want to make the game like it was when I was a kid, and we were all getting epic gear because that made it more 'cool' for us at the time...kind of want to do it right this time...and I really think I can coax my crew into this.  Pizza and beer will help, they always do!    


My point was actually specifically not to give them epic loot. They won't care about it, especially being new players.


Give them something awesome like kingship of the realm, ownership of a transdimensional airship with a rag tag crew, a loyal dragon army. Stuff like that. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"


I get what the last two guys are saying, but I don't want to make the game like it was when I was a kid, and we were all getting epic gear because that made it more 'cool' for us at the time...kind of want to do it right this time...and I really think I can coax my crew into this.  Pizza and beer will help, they always do!    


My point was actually specifically not to give them epic loot. They won't care about it, especially being new players.


Give them something awesome like kingship of the realm, ownership of a transdimensional airship with a rag tag crew, a loyal dragon army. Stuff like that. 




Good stuff, an army of terra cotta soldiers controlled by the crown in the kings tomb. 
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
Sign In to post comments