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Comments: 6
Ideas: 0
Rating: 2.1667
Condition: Normal
ID: 1232


April 22, 2008, 5:28 pm

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Battleship Combination Lock


A combination lock, possibly to open a chest or door or other entry point. A magical puzzle, for those interested.

The party reaches a point where they find a box containing numbered blocks of wood with pegs in them, and a pegboard on the wall. There is nothing more than numbers on the outside of the grid to indicate what is to be done.

Prior to this point, the PCs have been given some hint as to what they need to do(I handled this by allowing them to find a note on a dead higher up who would know how the puzzle worked). The pieces of numbered wood are supposed to add up, on all sides, the sum of those numbers to equal the numbers that are on the outside of the board. All five pieces must be used to open the door.

The original puzzle was stolen from the following web page, thanks to that puzzle creator!
This page contains all the puzzles and their solutions, pick your favorite one.

As game master, I like to give my players puzzles that they must actively solve, and this is merely one way to work in an otherwise "non-fitting" puzzle into a fantasy adventure. Truth be told, I simply like puzzles, and in order to work them in, I will create any implausible set of circumstances to fit them in. The "combination locked door" is one of my favorite circumstances, even though the determined player character can always simply bash down the door. My players are nice about that, though, allowing me to give them a puzzle to solve rather than applying their own "key" to the door(usually a large warhammer).

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Comments ( 6 )
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Voted MoonHunter
November 8, 2005, 19:26
I just don't like this one. It is like the dungeon is a gameshow where you have to go through these challanges others have specifically set up and waiting around having coffee durring the commercial. (Oh wait, we have done that)
Voted Zylithan
November 23, 2005, 10:29
I don't know how to consider/vote pieces that are taken from other places on the internet. It is in some ways a service to consolidate them, but at the same time, it's easy enough to use google to find them. It's not something I think I will do, but I don't have any problem with it.

Puzzles can be fun, although, as you admit they sometimes "don't belong" in a game. Also, if you give players a puzzle do the ones with low intelligence scores have to not figure it out, or maybe you handicap them some way - there is a disconnect between player and character I think.

I do like putting puzzles into adventures, however. MH's comment actually makes me think, you could try doing an adventure where for some reason the players ar esor of put in a gameshow. For example, a rich guy hires them to recover something goblins stole from him, and points them to the goblin cave. Only in reality, the goblin cave is like a premade gameshow set, where rich and bored wizards send "adventurers" for their amusement. I've actually played in an adventure like this, and my paladin was rip-roaring mad when he found out what happened.
Voted valadaar
April 22, 2008, 12:02
I agree with Moonhunter. Puzzles can be used, but they need to make sense and not exist for their own sake. The question is Why?

Some PC's might be cool with it though.
Voted Silveressa
July 12, 2011, 23:00

Interesting but a bit too basic to make  the typhical player group get enthused about solving the problem.

The main Issue I find with "real" puzzles is sometimes the characters are supposed to be brilliant mages or scientists, (or super heroes) and the player becomes frustrated when their character could easily solve a problem they are struggling with, it really kills the immersion for them.

Voted axlerowes
April 15, 2013, 22:22
could use a little more presentation, as it stands now, it is just a suggestion of a puzzle.
Voted Mageek
October 25, 2015, 23:54

I didn't understand the puzzle until I followed the link, but once I did I found the mathematical challenge behind it to be pretty interesting. The images on the other page really help.

Some issues have been raised:

- presentation is hard to follow

- some explanation necessary (aka per dead higher-up)

- seems a little artificial

Some things I like:

- new/different puzzle that what I have seen before that is conceptually elegant

- allows for a tactile representation i.r.l. for the players around the table

Other thoughts:

- one can use any sort of tokens instead of ships, such as animals or little magical beasts

- is there a way to give players feedback? Maybe have a row light up when the correct count is achieved?

- the article name makes me picture a combination lock onboard a battleship. It might be better to rename the post 'battleship grid puzzle' or something.

I have run a TON of artificial puzzles over the years. Can't say they always make a lot of sense but if you know your audience you can still have a good time.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: MoonHunter

It looks like a cook's book. It is a cook's book. It is also where the cook, who happened to be a master spy, encoded all his secrets and contacts. The book has innocently fallen into your group's hands. Everyone wants it, and many are not subtle or peaceful in their attempts.

Ideas  ( Items ) | July 23, 2005 | View | UpVote 1xp

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