Content of the article: "The Nonsense Riddle"
I ran a homebrew session tonight where I got to run one of my all-time favorite riddles: The Nonsense Riddle. What appears as a simple riddle (albeit one that is… difficult to answer) turns into either a half-hour of deliberation and arguing, or a 5-second speed bump that the party never realizes was supposed to be hard.
The process is simple: Create a riddle that has no answer. Compare a bunch of random things, make it rhyme, give it the structure of a real riddle, but make sure that it's essentially unanswerable. Then, preface the riddle with "Can you answer my riddle?" What was once an unsolvable riddle now has a simple answer: "No." Congratulations, you've made a nonsense riddle!
There's a lot you can do to spice up and customize this riddle. The session that inspired this post had a talking door that spoke it but came up with a new nonsense riddle every time the wrong answer was given. The answer also had to be entered via a 12 key keypad with NO in the center (as a fun little clue). The door also cast suggestion on the players on a wrong answer with varying degrees of severity ("Pat yourself on the Back" after a particularly clever
Sample Nonsense Riddles (each prefaced with "Can you answer this riddle?):
Seen by none but those without eyes, Heard by he who silently cries Bloody tears into bloody skies.
Bigger than a Kobold's Wish And Smaller than the smallest fish: A well-fed man's favorite dish.
As far as one can dare to look Yet closest when seen in a book The bane of any skinny crook.
Read within the leaves of tea, Heard by every buzzing bee: The headless king's last decree.
Burning hot as any coal, Soothes the blood of an angry troll Found in but a simple bowl.
Have any of y'all run a nonsense riddle before? Or do you have another type of riddle that you love throwing at your players?
- Is this Troll riddle too difficult?
- The time my players made a Sphinx groan.
- I need help for my post session review
© Post "The Nonsense Riddle" for game Dungeons & Dragons Online.
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