Riddle me this: have you ever been in a situation where you want to test your PCs with a brain-teaser, only to find that you can’t think of a good one? Ideally, this is a problem you’d run into when designing your adventure, rather than panicking right at the game table as you realize you’re stumped to come up with a stumper. Still, it’s a bit worrisome to think that – notwithstanding the old classics – you can’t think of a riddle.
That’s where Stainless Steel Dragon comes in, with 101 Fantasy Riddles. The title alone should tell you exactly what to expect, as it contains exactly the listed number of fantasy-based riddles. Of course, by “fantasy riddles” it means that it doesn’t have anything dealing with modern objects or ideas – these are all things that people in a medieval world (whether fantasy or not) would likely have come up with.
The book’s format is fairly standard. After the cover, there’s no other artwork to be found here, save for the company logo on the credits page. The table of contents lists the various riddles found per page, though it lists them by their subject, which usually gives away the answer as well – be sure not to let players peruse the book.
You’ll actually find all of the riddles here listed twice. The book first prints them all with their answers listed immediately afterwards, and then reprints them all again without the answer, instead having an answer key at the back of the book. This struck me as somewhat unnecessary, since it probably would have made more sense just to list them all without an answer and then refer to the key at the end, but I suppose there’s no harm in doing it both ways here.
Presumably many of these riddles are original; I say presumably because a significant number of them are tagged with the notation “Classic Riddle of unknown origin,” though I’d only ever heard of a few of these previously. Still, it underlines a certain aspect of the book: these all deal with fairly mundane concepts. By that I mean, don’t expect anything particularly dealing with dragons or orcs or anything particular to fantasy – these are “one size fits all” for any sort of rustic campaign, and don’t get into particulars. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you want a riddle based around the lunar cycles of your campaign world’s three moons, you’re out of luck here.
Ultimately, this book does exactly what it promises, and nothing more: it delivers 101 riddles that would conceivably be found in a fantasy world. Not difficult, none of them are exactly easy either, which will probably make them exactly what you need them to be, though any tweaking for specificity will have to be done on your own. Still, it fulfills the niche it sets out to.
[4 of 5 Stars!]