One of the classic concepts of traditional gaming that has held on throughout all variations and generations, editions and systems is the idea of the riddle. Those time forgotten words carved into the sides of a monolithic statue that hint at times gone by and how to safely travel through the catacombs...those timeless creatures to whim a group of PCs are but gnats amusing themselves by giving a group a chance to survive with a battle of wit and tongue. Oft times the idea of a riddle can very quickly bring about those memorable moments in a gaming groups collection of tales.
However, as any unprepared GM is aware, those can also translate into moments that mean nothing...Ive been at a table where a riddle was presented to the playgroup that was obviously written hastily, and with very little thought put into it. The GM had us roll, and on a successful check we “solved” the riddle and moved on...wait, wha? That's not that special moment we all are looking for at the game table...and that is exactly what this book hopes to help with.
Liz Smith has presented us here with a collection of smartly written riddles, of varying degrees of challenge for a GM to present to their players. The PDF starts us off with a brief explanation of what exactly constitutes a riddle, as one can hardly present riddles if operating without a full understanding of what they are. The nice thing here is on top of giving us the different forms of riddle with examples, the breakdown of seeing the different styles compared like this helps in realizing why some riddles will work in one form, but not in another. Thereby helping to place your riddles better throughout your games. From there we go to a pretty straight forward example of how to structure and write a good riddle, which I think anyone could benefit from.
Now, getting to the actual riddles, there are four pages of them. I would love to tell you these are all original...but I recognize a few of these. And honestly, that's OK. There's nothing really wrong with that, as the ones I recognized brought a smile to my face and a warm memory from books loved over a lifetime. I imagine most of you out there will recognize a few as well, and hopefully they inspire you as well.
All in all this product does indeed succeed at providing exactly what it claims it will, a ready to use list of riddles. It also manages to go beyond that with a handy breakdown of the various styles of riddles, and a walk through to aid one in designing their own riddles. Finding that the book left me with several ideas for placing a riddle or two in upcoming adventures, I am going to have to give this a solid 5 star rating, and mark it as well worth the price of admission! Well done!