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  #1  
Old 06-23-2009, 12:08 AM
Knightrunner Knightrunner is offline
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Riddles for D&D dungeons

I've been reworking an old module that includes sphynx-style riddling that PC's must solve. The published riddles are, at best, rather lame and I would like to upgrade them.

Does anyone know a few good (preferably fantasy-themed) riddles? I found innumerable bad riddles using Google- are there any good ones out there?
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2009, 12:47 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Will any riddles span sessions, or otherwise give the players a chance to look them up? If so, you'll want to avoid any standard ones you can find easily online.
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  #3  
Old 06-23-2009, 02:58 AM
Knightrunner Knightrunner is offline
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Yes, one of the riddles will probably span sessions (sort of as a prophecy). Most of the players wouldn't try looking it up online.

Basically, one of the important NPC's was a bit riddle-crazy and I'm hoping for a few obscure, but solvable puzzles. Most everything I've seen online has been aimed at children, or is too obscue even for this group.

Thanks!
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  #4  
Old 06-23-2009, 04:53 AM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is offline
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Could you try taking regular riddles, and gussying them up with flowery, archaic language?

Though you might get lynched if your players realize that the answer to your three-stanza olde englyshe poem-riddle is "Fred Asparagus." (Although you'd also accept "Elvis Parsley.")
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  #5  
Old 06-23-2009, 07:33 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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A skull on fat body with scales to each side winging through the dusk. He comes for you.

Deaths Head moth
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2009, 07:50 AM
The Controvert The Controvert is offline
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Here are a bunch of riddles from Betrayal at Krondor. The answers are spelled out in slightly grey letters.
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  #7  
Old 06-23-2009, 07:51 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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The excellent 3E adventure Of Sound Mind (written by my friend and amazing GM Kevin Kulp) has the following riddle, which I hope Kevin doesn't mind my reproducing here:

Quote:
This garden is a lonely place
where many came, and yet remain
the plants grow strong on fertile ground
watered by legacies of pain
and should I plow, my plow would break
on cast-off husks of iron grain
now buried where they fell like wheat.
What am I? Speak! Or face the bane.
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  #8  
Old 06-23-2009, 08:17 AM
Grey Grey is offline
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A battle field?
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2009, 09:31 AM
palindromemordnilap palindromemordnilap is offline
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I was going to say cemetery until I got to the 'iron grain', then battlefield seemed right.

To the OP,

Cloud Kingdom Games has the best free D&D themed riddles I've seen. You can also subscribe to get an email with the riddle of the week. I sometimes change their riddles around to make them better, usually by removing the most obvious clues or changing the construction to get rid of the cheesiest rhymes.
http://www.cloudkingdom.com/

For the players in my game, riddles can't be enormously hard or they won't get them. I'll post a few of my faves with spoilers.
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2009, 09:41 AM
palindromemordnilap palindromemordnilap is offline
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Always smiles or maybe frowns
Sinks in water, never drowns.
Catches prey on its barbed teeth.
Hunts all day but never eats.

SPOILER:
Fishhook


More powerful than all the gods
Worse than pure evil
Wetter than water
Poor people have it
Rich people need it
And if you eat it you’ll go hungry

SPOILER:
Nothing


I have no fearsome claw or bite
Yet all flee from my black and white
To provoke me makes bad sense
To them that knows my best defense

SPOILER:
Skunk
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2009, 09:53 AM
Woeg Woeg is offline
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I can be found in the tornado's path,
I'm partners with death, harm, and hate,
I delight in the hurricane's harrowing wrath,
But 'tis not in destruction I sate.
What am I?

SPOILER:
The Letter H
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2009, 10:32 AM
palindromemordnilap palindromemordnilap is offline
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Woeg, I came up with an answer that is at least equally correct:

SPOILER:
the letter A
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2009, 12:26 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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While visiting Gollum's Lake, the party in What Exit's? Middle-earth game tossed around several here, from posts 1999 through 2032: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...496173&page=40

I'm sure you could use or adapt any of them as you wish.
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  #14  
Old 06-23-2009, 09:37 PM
Knightrunner Knightrunner is offline
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Thanks, everyone. There are a lot of good ideas here. Both the bee and battlefield riddles will be very easy to work in, and there were some fun ones in the links, too. I'll write in later if anyone's interested in how these were received. That being said, the players have always been good at solving puzzles, so please keep posting if you want- they eat up ideas as fast as I can come up with them.

I try not to be too corny; there were mass groans when they met an NPC bard named "Elfus". Of course, it started a whole theme of music-related puns, so maybe they just claim to dislike corny jokes.
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2009, 09:19 AM
Garula Garula is offline
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Explosive Runes.
SPOILER:
Boom! Riddle solved.
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2009, 11:34 AM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
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Two beautiful maidens approach the village matchmaker to be matched. The matchmaker is impressed by their beauty, but even more impressed is she by the fact that they both look exactly alike.

The matchmaker asks each maiden where she lives, and their answers are the same; they live in the same house. She asks each who her father is, and their answers are the same; they have the same father. She asks for their birthdays, and they have the same birthday.

"Ah," says the matchmaker. "You are twins."

"No," say the maidens. "We're not twins."

How can this be?

SPOILER:

They are two of a set of triplets; the third sister is at home.
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2009, 12:30 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I guessed it right!
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  #18  
Old 06-24-2009, 12:39 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Adapted from an ancient Roman riddle:

Born of Earth, strengthened in fire
I sit on high, master of water

SPOILER:
A roofing tile
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  #19  
Old 06-24-2009, 01:20 PM
JonathanTheRed JonathanTheRed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palindromemordnilap View Post
More powerful than all the gods
Worse than pure evil
Wetter than water
Poor people have it
Rich people need it
And if you eat it you’ll go hungry

SPOILER:
Nothing
I prefer this way:

What is it men love more than life,
Fear more than death or mortal strife?
The poor man has, the rich require,
What is the contented man's desire?
The miser spends, the spendthrift saves,
And all men carry to their graves.
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  #20  
Old 06-24-2009, 05:20 PM
DocCathode DocCathode is offline
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An old favorite from the excellent comic Adventurers.

"Not of man,
But by man,
Rising above all,
But rising above nothing,
In the eye that greets the darkness,
You will find the mage Rannon."

A quick scaling of the walls by Nightwind revealed that the interior of the city they were in is laid out in the pattern of a skull. The sun sets in the west, so Rannon's tomb is in the eastern eye.

The idea of skull pattern can be made as complex as necessary. It can be plain, or a baroque tribal knotwork. The shape of the skull can be made by unconnected landmarks miles apart.
__________________
Nothing is impossible if you can imagine it. That's the wonder of being a scientist!
Prof Hubert Farnsworth, Futurama
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  #21  
Old 06-27-2009, 10:59 PM
palindromemordnilap palindromemordnilap is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanTheRed View Post
I prefer this way:

What is it men love more than life,
Fear more than death or mortal strife?
The poor man has, the rich require,
What is the contented man's desire?
The miser spends, the spendthrift saves,
And all men carry to their graves.
Yeah that is better, thx
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  #22  
Old 06-27-2009, 11:29 PM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Two beautiful maidens approach the village matchmaker to be matched. The matchmaker is impressed by their beauty, but even more impressed is she by the fact that they both look exactly alike.

The matchmaker asks each maiden where she lives, and their answers are the same; they live in the same house. She asks each who her father is, and their answers are the same; they have the same father. She asks for their birthdays, and they have the same birthday.

"Ah," says the matchmaker. "You are twins."

"No," say the maidens. "We're not twins."

How can this be?

SPOILER:

They are two of a set of triplets; the third sister is at home.
This doesn't work as well in a fantasy universe when answers like "I just cast mirror image" and "flesh golem carefully constructed to look like me" are perfectly valid answers.

My first is a number
My second another
And each, I assure you
Will rhyme with the other
My first I can say
Is one-fifth of my second
And when both are together
A long period reckoned

SPOILER:
Four-score, the trick is most people won't think of trying non-standard numbers like "score" for a while.
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  #23  
Old 06-30-2009, 08:09 PM
Little Plastic Ninja Little Plastic Ninja is offline
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The old computer game The Crimson Crown has three delightfully creepy riddles I loved as a kid:

Hands I do not have, yet I grasp so tight.
I love darkness, my enemy is light.
Both the mighty and low know me well,
For in the hearts of men do I dwell!

SPOILER:
Fear


I wonder as I wander: where am I?
I shed tears, yet I cannot cry,
I trek, but cannot walk, swim or fly,
I am born to die. Say, what am I?

SPOILER:
Cloud



I am, I'm not. I visit young and old,
Some I make timid and some I make bold,
Unwise is the one who pokes fun at me.
Beware, for I am a shadow of thee.

SPOILER:
Death
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  #24  
Old 07-01-2009, 05:41 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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Why did the chicken cross the road?

SPOILER:
Because it was too long to go around.


I once came close to stumping the Demon Asmodeus with this, but he Vader-choked the answer out of me.
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  #25  
Old 03-27-2012, 01:55 PM
Yooperthing Yooperthing is offline
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A friend on mine used this on us when he was DM. We only were able to continue our quest by killing the Minotaur that asked the riddle.
And here I thought cows were the stupid ones.


An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face.
"This eye is to that eye,"
Said the first eye,
"But on a low, not a high."

SPOILER:
Sunshine on daisies

It took me a while to get it, even after I knew the answer.

Last edited by Yooperthing; 03-27-2012 at 01:55 PM..
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  #26  
Old 03-27-2012, 02:03 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Most fantasy fans will know that one, Yooperthing. It's from The Hobbit.
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  #27  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:16 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Two beautiful maidens approach the village matchmaker to be matched. The matchmaker is impressed by their beauty, but even more impressed is she by the fact that they both look exactly alike.

The matchmaker asks each maiden where she lives, and their answers are the same; they live in the same house. She asks each who her father is, and their answers are the same; they have the same father. She asks for their birthdays, and they have the same birthday.

"Ah," says the matchmaker. "You are twins."

"No," say the maidens. "We're not twins."

How can this be?
I was going to go with 'Temporal Anomoly, one is a time traveler'
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  #28  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:57 AM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
I was going to go with 'Temporal Anomoly, one is a time traveler'
Since the matchmaker never asked if they have the same mother, another answer is that they're half-sisters, with different mothers.
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  #29  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:10 AM
Death of Rats Death of Rats is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jragon View Post
This doesn't work as well in a fantasy universe when answers like "I just cast mirror image" and "flesh golem carefully constructed to look like me" are perfectly valid answers.
Of course, in these settings the riddle is usually the key to unlocking some other objective, so just because an answer is valid, does not make it correct. The job would be to find the correct answer not just any answer. Having multiple possibilities just makes it that much more maddening for the adventurers.

ETA: just realized this was a zombie after it ate my brain.

Last edited by Death of Rats; 03-28-2012 at 10:11 AM.. Reason: Joined the Walking Dead crew
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  #30  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:14 AM
janis_and_c0 janis_and_c0 is offline
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In one of the campaigns I ran, I had a shifting maze. It read:
Dire Forrest has a shifting Maze That bears this legend:

Pretend as if you're playing a game,
the way to get through is just the same
inside the castle
you'll use the code
and then you'll hit
the mother lode
SPOILER:

the way to get through the maze is
thusly:
Up
Up
Down
Down
Left
Right
Left
Right
Then:
A
B
(Represented by Rhunes in the earth)(

It's a reference to the konami code. I had a lot of fun with that one

Dang! didn't see this was an old thread!

Last edited by janis_and_c0; 03-28-2012 at 10:15 AM.. Reason: Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnssssssssss
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  #31  
Old 03-28-2012, 12:24 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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That's not really a fair riddle, though, because it requires out-of-game knowledge. Sure, some of your players probably know the old Konami code, but there's no way the characters would.
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  #32  
Old 03-28-2012, 12:34 PM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
That's not really a fair riddle, though, because it requires out-of-game knowledge. Sure, some of your players probably know the old Konami code, but there's no way the characters would.
Well, you're right in that it's hardly self-evident, yet somehow somone figured it out in real life. Maybe the secret was leaked, maybe it was discovered by accident/observation. No reason some old dude couldn't have gone through the dungeon in the past and learned its secrets and now lives nearby. Maybe he's known as the crazy old geezer down by the creek who claims to have seen King Scrogg's treasure but was run off by some resident nasty guardians. And nobody really believes a word...

ETA: I mean really, the point of a riddle is to control access to only allow in "those in the know." I'm not going to rely on "30 white horses on a red hill now thay stamp, now they champ, now they stand still" to be the principle barrier between my horde and some pimp from the shire. It should be nearly impossible to figure out unless you have a critical piece of evidence or a unique perspective.

Last edited by The Great Sun Jester; 03-28-2012 at 12:37 PM..
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  #33  
Old 03-28-2012, 01:25 PM
FinnAgain FinnAgain is offline
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No. The point of a riddle is that anybody can figure it out if they can get into the thoughtspace of the riddle. That's the difference between "tell me the Konami Code" / "what's in my pockets" and "what has four legs at dawn, three at..."
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  #34  
Old 03-28-2012, 06:20 PM
Babale Babale is offline
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Yep, anyone can get a riddle. A question with dozens of possible answers, only one of which is correct, or a series of directions is a password, not a riddle.

ETA: For an example of a password that sounds like a riddle, think of the Dark Brotherhood questions in the Elder Scrolls. In Oblivion, the sanctuary door asks, "What is the color of night?". The answer could be Black, Dark Blue, Black with White Dots.... Literally anything. But there's only one answer that gets you in.

Last edited by Babale; 03-28-2012 at 06:22 PM..
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  #35  
Old 03-28-2012, 06:47 PM
Quimby Quimby is offline
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I am the end of Before and I am the beginning of the End. What am I?

SPOILER:
The letter E
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  #36  
Old 03-28-2012, 08:04 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
Well, you're right in that it's hardly self-evident, yet somehow somone figured it out in real life. Maybe the secret was leaked, maybe it was discovered by accident/observation. No reason some old dude couldn't have gone through the dungeon in the past and learned its secrets and now lives nearby. Maybe he's known as the crazy old geezer down by the creek who claims to have seen King Scrogg's treasure but was run off by some resident nasty guardians. And nobody really believes a word...
In which case, the DM needs to put that old geezer in the game, and the challenge then becomes, do the players track him down and believe him, not whether they can figure out the riddle themselves.
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  #37  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:25 PM
Miller Miller is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In which case, the DM needs to put that old geezer in the game, and the challenge then becomes, do the players track him down and believe him, not whether they can figure out the riddle themselves.
And even then, it's not really a riddle. It's just directions.
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  #38  
Old 03-30-2012, 03:23 PM
AlderonIron AlderonIron is offline
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Here's an old one I used,

Brothers and sisters, I have none.
But that man's father, is my fathers son.
Who is that man.

SPOILER:
My son.


Hope you like it.



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Iron Ore
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