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101 Fantasy Riddles $4.95 $3.95
Publisher: Stainless Steel Dragon
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/28/2009 12:24:19

If you want to get a good argument started, put a couple of hack and slash DMs in the same room with a couple of role-playing DMs and ask them what do they think of riddles in D&D. The Iron DM opinion is that riddles are great when put into the context of the adventure. Just as there is no single roll to win a combat, (which tests the combat tactics of a player), there should not be a single roll to win a mind test of the players (which tests the adventuring tactics of a player).

101 Riddles, published by Stainless Steel Dragon and written by Jon Volden is written for the Dungeon Master that relishes in sending his players through a challenging ringer. The PDF contains 101 riddles for words and phrases typically encountered in an adventure.

The 46 page book is well bookmarked, though the layout could have used some work to save white space. The riddles themselves are not too difficult, nor too easy. They are also quite unique. The book’s biggest problem is that it itself is too simple. It is a simple book of adventuring riddles. The hope would be that it would have added 1 or 2 implementation ways as previous similar supplements have done. Providing things like recommended hints for the riddles would have helped evolve the book to the hack and slash crowd.

For the Iron DM This is one of the best collections of riddles you will find. They deal specifically with things you will find in a typical campaign world. I was particularly impressed with the seven sin riddles.

The Iron Word 101 Riddles is a great value, providing 101 mind puzzles for your players, though be warned that there is nothing included in the book to help facilitate them in your campaign.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
I have a quick note about the reviewer's comments regarding white space and hints. I intentionally used a lot of white space to make the riddles easier to read on the fly. (Especially by DMs with failing eye sight such as my own.) The white space also serves as a place where DMs can pencil in their own hints should they feel "their" players need them. I did consider adding my own set of hints with experience modifiers based on how many hints are needed to correctly answer the riddle. I decided not to do that primarily because I don't like to micro manage how other DMs use my books, or how they judge their players. I am sure "some" DMs would appreciate my help by adding hints. But others might be confused by multiple hints and still other DMs would think me condescending toward them and/or their players. ("Most" of these riddles are fairly simple yet entertaining, and awhile play-testing very few hints were needed.) So I went for the middle ground with this book by allowing it to be as simple or as complicated as the DM chooses to make it.

For the record, this book was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and I don't remember Golem giving Bilbo any hints. So I guess I am in good company. I can't speak for every gamer in the world, but "my" gamers find the riddles in this book both fun and entertaining. (I have 14 steady players.) I seldom need to offer my players a clue, but when I do, it is a simple thing to do it on the fly. I assume most DMs are as bright as I am, and their game facilitation doesn't suffer from their pause in coming up with a suitable hint. In fact, my gamers, (Both hack and slay and serious role-players) like these riddles so much they have asked me to incorporate at least one into each dungeon. It is an easy thing to do, and I am doing it. In truth I am burning through these riddles so fast next year I will need to write and release an all new book so I don't run out.

I will consider adding hints to the sequel for DMs and players who have difficulty presenting clues on the fly or answering basic riddles. I generally write to the level of my audience and I consider DMs and gamers to be exceptionally bright people who don't really need lots of hints to answer fairly basic riddles. Readers of this book, please let me know how you feel about it. Send me your feedback and I will write my next book (perhaps amend this book) to support the needs of the majority. I aim to please my audience if not all critics.:)

Best Regard,
Jon Volden

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