I would imagine that someone might have an opportunity to realize that the nature of the puzzle is a fascination, and be allowed a chance to break the spell. The difficulty would be based on how much the person in question trusts magic. A barbarian or berzerker might have no problem putting down the puzzle, given their anti-magic feelings. The mage, how has devoted his life to the art, however...
After a person has forfeited the puzzle (by the above method, or by means of a Break Enchantment type spell) someone else can pick up the puzzle and try their hand at it. The puzzle will reset to the new person and the fun commences all over again. It only responds to the person who activated it, but being a toymaker and loving children, the puzzle also has an acho of this feeling for children. I'm not saying it is sentient, it's not. It is simply much more forgiving towards children, as its creator would have been. Go to Comment
I can imagine one of those uber-powerful wizards, thinking away about the puzzle, hoping to complete it, because there MUST be a mighty spell written on the complete puzzle, or the map to the Philosopher's stone... the onlz intellect worthy of such a challenge and reward... meh likes. Go to Comment
I guess zou CAN fail to solve it, and return to it with greater vigor after you slep for an hour and had some grub, like a moldy yoghurt and rock-hard bread left in the storage from when you last went shopping... Go to Comment
1. What happens if a genius begins the puzzle, and is later joined by an idiot. Is the idiot fascinated as well? Does the puzzle get easier?
2. At the beginning you say: "This is more satisfying after a mage has failed to complete the puzzle, to watch a peasant child complete it in minutes." How is it possible to fail to complete the puzzle? You can't stop. If you've failed, aren't you dead? (or physically incapable of completing it?)
Thanks for the excuse to try to construct a puzzle upside-down. (The puzzle, that is.) Go to Comment
This is pretty cool, I don't know if I would inflict it on a party, though. BUT! It is a REALLY good way of removing a high level NPC sage/wizard/etc from the party without removing that wizard permanently.
Alternately, use it to trick an evil wizard into a world of his own, ignoring his dastardly plan of world domination(doesn't every evil wizard have a dastardly plan of world domination?), and focusing instead on the puzzle. Maybe the party is told the story of the puzzle, and are sent to offer it as a gift to some naughty wizard to keep him busy while they foil his plans! Go to Comment
What might be amusing is if it made it APPEAR as if it were easier to solve for a child, and harder for a genius. So, some kid peers over the shoulder of a mage, and basically can see it right away, this piece here, and this piece there. So the wizard says, oh yeah, smart guy, ok, you have a go at it. At which point it appears to the wizard that the child is moving with lightning speed to finish the puzzle(not superhuman speed or anything, just everything seems to fit for them nicely). Then, the child is compelled to break it down again... "see how easy that was! Now you try it..." cut to montage of jeopardy music overlaying shots of a frustrated wizard trying his damndest to finish the puzzle... Go to Comment
It sound too me more like it has a MAJOR enchantment of fascination, which would just make it all the more appealing to a wizard.
I can see one of my party members becoming obsessed with this, he's the sorcerer and de facto leader, it will really hamper them. Go to Comment
Well, the house is always real, it is just a _bit_ different at night. It is mixing of the "ghostly" and "real" that can get weird. (They sure wake up hungry in the morning... especially bad if they were sailors running out of food.)
So it can be diffilcut for them to get something "ghostly" and be able to keep it outside of the house. A simple (but possibly too annoying) option would be to copy the scroll or book on real paper.
Given that the inhabitants percieve takers as thieves, and act appropriately, they better do some bargain. And interring may not be enough... a service or yet another quest may be asked for. And what if the spy asks for hard currency, especially one that does not exist anymore? Of course for the real thing, winning in the game room will get you only the ghost stuff... unless there is some unbeatable master of a game. It could take real money or other item of value to exchange for a real item.
Actually, the PCs could really spend here some time, get into all conversations, and hear all the chit-chat (parts of it may be highly relevant, even after centuries!). They could even become addicted on it, and have diffilcuty going away.
I can well imagine, that after properly burying a few guests (hardly all in a single day), the evening would start as usually, but culminate into a great farewell party, and saying goodbye to the departing ones... that could lie down into their graves, or depart walking on the sea, vanishing in the distance, or on a ship that arrives to fetch them finally.
The other guests will return to their somewaht distorted routine.
How about a lone fisherman or sailor, shipwrecked on the island, that embraced all the house has to offer? He could oppose the party in its plans, whether he is still alive (and hiding somewhere on the island) or he is dead, but a different ghost from the others.
You know what's cool about this setting? You can insert it as a simple flavor encounter, and then hook all sorts of things in there after the fact.
My guys would find no END of things to suppose about a place like this. It would be something mysterious and intrigueing that simply MUST be investigated further.
I would probably insert this into the middle of a river journey(they do a lot of river travelling), and just have it "be there", especially when they are off on something else. They would stay the night and wake up and be like, "what the...??" and they'd want to return to figure out what the hell happened.
You know what would be cool? Some sort of ethereal travel scenario. The house burned down with someone in it with important information or something of intrinsic value that would have gotten destroyed in the fire(scroll, map, etc). That item can ONLY be found by going ethereal and joining the ghosts on that plane, where the house has REAL substance, as it stood before it was burned down.
They go back to the house, spend another night of revelry, and wake up in the morning to find it gone, and some guy standing there requesting of them that they go find something specific in the house or something, but in order to actually bring it back, they have to visit the ethereal plane and actually grab it from there.
You know why I like this setting? A plot instantly popped into my head for this specific setting, at least the rough concept. If you don't mind, I'll work up something more specific, or heck, you can run with this. (I don't know what the etiquette is for using someone else's settings,etc as a basis for another entry.) Go to Comment
I'm thinking this would be a great idea for a really late-night session, when no one's suspecting a twist in the plot. The valuables appearing on corpses idea is especially effective - I can just see the look on the PCs faces when they're told that the pathetic charred corpse is wearing the same heavy spectacles as that genial, cultured old man at the table in the corner who was so helpful to them... Go to Comment