"I challenge you to a contest of riddles!"

I ran Skogenby for a group of four at a convention. 1 was familiar with BW and Mouse Guard, 2 were a couple who were playing in a TB campaign together and one was a newbie but was familiar with the old school dungeon crawl.

These guys were remarkably good at the game.

By the time they’d reached the end boss they had deposited all their treasure in the water room in case it was cursed or something.

I described Hathor Vaash speaking through her host and the players figured out that this girl was possessed. At this point Karolina stepped up and started to bargain with the spirit. “You don’t want the body of a small girl, you want the body of a seasoned warrior. I challenge you to the ancient rite of the contest of riddles if I win you return the girl and if you win you shall have my body!”

I was not expecting the player to respond like that!

The skeletons that had started to amble forward stepped back, sat on their tombs and watched the contest.

This was really tricky to play. I informed my play with the Seeking Knowledge descriptor for Hathor Vaash’s nature.

We asked riddles for the actions and we answered them too, but not necessarily on the actions where riddles and answers are weapons. We had situations where I (the player) didn’t know the answer but I rolled well and also times where we knew the answers but the actions resolved unfavourably. After a successful feint we tried to explain how the traditional answer to a well known riddle was actually wrong and the given answer was better (“It is not “man” but “woman” who walks on three legs in the evening!”) I liked the one round where we both scripted defend and the wizard went through his book whilst the spirit left briefly to consult the spirit realm.

Aside from bringing a book of riddles to the session what advice would you give me for running this more smoothly?

I felt a bit bad for Gerald’s player as just before this he was hit with the sleeping dust and knocked out for the conflict.

A book of riddles is a great idea if you’re not comfortable making up your own and don’t have a handful of riddles in mind. As a GM, I try to have six or seven flavorful riddles in my notes, just in case.

It sounds like the way you rolled with it is spot on. And bravo to Karolina’s player for thinking on his/her feet!

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Perhaps we should start a thread specifically for riddles, which we may be able to easily bring into the game. It may even be fun to only provide the riddles, and not the answers.

I realize that anyone can google for riddles, but it might be nice to have some “Torchbearer vetted” riddles easily found at one place.

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That sounds good. We should look at how each riddle could be considered an Attack, Defend, Manouevre or a Feint.

Attack might be “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”
Defend might be “Did Poe write on both of them?”
Feint might be revealing the fact that this was riddle has no official answer.
Manoeuvre could be “Pondering on the works of Lewis Carol and thinking of a related riddle.”

Of course that riddle probably doesn’t work as it’s makes reference to real world people that don’t fit the setting.

And remember: it’s not an iceberg, it’s a portuguese man of war.

Off topic, I recently learning the Portuguese Man o’ War is not, in fact, a jelly fish!

What walks all day on its head?

The more you take, the more you leave behind. What are they?

What goes round the house and in the house but never touches the house?

What is it that you can keep after giving it to someone else?

Brothers and sisters have I none but that man’s father is my father’s son.

What goes round and round the wood but never goes into the wood?

I have a little house in which I live all alone. It has no doors or windows, and if I want to go out I must break through the wall.

Scarcely was the father in this world when the son could be found sitting on the roof.

There are four brothers in this world that were all born together. The first runs and never wearies. The second eats and is never full. The third drinks and is always thirsty. The fourth sings a song that is never good.

A cloud was my mother, the wind is my father, my son is the cool stream, and my daughter is the fruit of the land. A rainbow is my bed, the earth my final resting place, and I’m the torment of man.

It stands on one leg with its heart in its head.

What belongs to you but others use it more than you do?

What is is that you will break even when you name it?

What is it the more you take away the larger it becomes?

Lives without a body, hears without ears, speaks without a mouth, to which the air alone gives birth.

A hundred-year-old man and his head one night old.

When one does not know what it is, then it is something; but when one knows what it is, then it is nothing.

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This is very interesting. I’d viewed riddling in an entirely different light.

Premise: Riddling is about not getting mentally flummoxed. The riddles are tools that you use to avoid that.

Riddles and Answers: You equip a good riddle as a weapon for Attacks. Throughout the volley, you’re prodding and taunting and misleading your opponent by hinting at the answer, and vice versa. You Defend by restoring your mental confidence and calm, narrowing down the reasoning. If you equip an acceptable answer, then you gain advantage dice to Defend, because it restores your confidence and clarity.

Maneuvers: These represent you framing the riddle (and/or manipulating the framing of the riddle) in order to confuse and hinder the thought processes of your opponent. In addition, you might be frustrating them or disarming the answer they had. My favorite interpretation of material-clue-as-weapon is “Nyah, nyah, look at this massive hint I’m showing you, and you still can’t figure it out!”

Feints: This is when you outright trick and mislead your opponent to false answers. Doesn’t have to be a riddle, it could be a very misleading clue.

Since you can only equip one of these on a given volley (unless I’m misunderstanding how weapons work in a Riddle conflict), your volley centers around either a riddle you pose, an answer you give, or a clue you’re taunting with. The three actions in the volley center around how you leverage that to frustrate your opponent or reassure yourself.

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Ooo, I like that. Would you declare the riddle when you declare your weapon? That way your opponent knows whether they can ‘equip’ a correct answer or not?

eta: hmm, I guess that wouldn’t work because then you’re basically playing out the riddle before the volley even starts. Maybe with riddling you can be more flexible about weapon use and if you happen to come up with the answer when you defend then it gives you a bonus? Or is that too much in hack territory?

I dig that Andy!

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It’s still pretty rough, but thanks! :slight_smile:

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Does anyone have an AP or an exchange by exchange description of how they did a riddle conflict? I’ve been having a hard time imagining what it looks like at the table.