Content of the article: "If your players always resort to brute-forcing puzzles, is it fair to reduce the reward/treasure they receive? Or should I just remove puzzles altogether since they don’t enjoy them?"
I'm guiding my players through a module, and whenever they come up against a puzzle or riddle that is blocking them from something, they always end up trying to brute force it, regardless of how easy the correct answer is. To be clear, the puzzles don't always prevent them from moving forward through the module. They often have the option to skip them entirely if they wanted to. Players gonna play though.
As an example they have been exploring a dwarven king's tomb and found a pair of big important-looking, magic doors that are impervious to magic and damage. The doors have an inscription that state "only the hand of the king may open these doors". The "correct" way to open them is to find the king's actual coffin, take his hand, and touch it to the big magic doors. However, my party has tried multiple times to break down or get around the doors by digging and magic. At this point, I'm thinking of just letting them break through, because it's obvious they are not really interested in going to find the king's body, despite me telegraphing that it is definitely nearby.
Is it fair then for me to add a consequence for them brute-forcing this puzzle? The room behind the big doors is "the heart of the mountain" and has more spiritual and roleplay value than monetary value. It will give the party temporary HP, and allow dwarven party members to cast divination. I was thinking that if they "pierce the heart of the mountain" then all the magic will be gone, and the tomb will become dark and sad instead of majestic and reverent. The dwarf in the party would also feel a sense of loss.
I was also thinking of maybe removing or accepting any sensible answer to riddles and puzzles in the future. This party doesn't really seem to like them. It feels a bit unrewarding though to just hand them whatever treasure the puzzles were protecting though. And it would surely make things more boring if they can just smash through anything in their way with violence, right?
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