Posted on Leave a comment

d100 – Acanthus’s Truths from a Drow Slave Camp

There are many fates worse than death that you might suffer in the Underworld if you are incautious, but perhaps the very worst of them is to end up in a drow slave camp. Holoth’s camp is known and feared for hundreds of miles around the city, and with the dark elves now taking captives from the surface, rumors of the terrible existence one can expect if captured are spreading rapidly.

Continue reading d100 – Acanthus’s Truths from a Drow Slave Camp

Posted on Leave a comment

Acanthus’s Conundrums #4: Puzzles & Riddles for RPGs

Acanthus’s Conundrums is a weekly post that gives you a puzzle and three riddles to use in your roleplaying game.

Each comes with a suggested solution, but be generous to your players if they suggest a reasonable answer, especially with the riddles. These diversions aren’t meant to cause disagreements or slow the adventure down.

Some thoughts about how the riddles have appeared historically are also included, so you can adapt them to your adventure.

Do you have any puzzle or riddles of your own to share, or requests to make of Acanthus? Get in the comments or join our Discord server!

Continue reading Acanthus’s Conundrums #4: Puzzles & Riddles for RPGs

Posted on Leave a comment

d100 – Acanthus’s Truths: Living in Holoth

d100 Acanthus's Truths

From the scrollshelves of the sage, d100 Acanthus’s Truths about living in Holoth. As the party begins to plan to advance on Holoth, whether openly or covertly, it pays for them to try and find out a little more about the city.  Unfortunately, few folks have been to Holoth and come out without being affected, so information about the place, and the Drow in general, is sketchy and potentially a little unreliable. However, some facts have emerged over time, and although they can sound a “little vague” what’s listed below is essentially true. Characters can gain some of these pieces of information by speaking with appropriate residents of other Underworld cities or intelligent creatures they meet on the way to Holoth itself. As GM, use them to add flavor to any encounters with Drow at any point in the adventure. Continue reading d100 – Acanthus’s Truths: Living in Holoth

Posted on Leave a comment

d100 – Seemingly Sensible Advice Found in a Strange Setting

EITHER roll d100 once and just read across both entries OR roll twice and match the advice to where it is found. The idea is that the advice, whilst sound in general, is unnerving in its specific place; it ought to get the minds of the characters racing at least. Some of the advice (e.g. Entry 4) is deliberately open to interpretation. Whether ANY of it makes sense is up to the GM in specific situations; if it doesn’t, it is meant to distract the characters into making mistakes or being over cautious.

Continue reading d100 – Seemingly Sensible Advice Found in a Strange Setting

Posted on Leave a comment

Acanthus’s Conundrums #3: Puzzles & Riddles for RPGs

Acanthus’s Conundrums is a weekly post with a puzzle and three riddles to use in your game.

As ever, each comes with a suggested solution, but be generous to your players if they come up with reasonable answers, especially when it comes to the riddles. I’ve also included some thoughts about how the riddles have appeared historically so you can adapt them to your adventure.

Do you have any puzzle or riddles of your own to share, or requests to make of Acanthus? Get in the comments or join our Discord server!

Puzzle #3: A Druid Buys a Drift of Pigs

A druid said: “I want to buy 100 pigs with 100 gold pieces. Now a boar costs eight gold pieces, a sow costs gold pieces and two piglets can be bought for a gold piece. I know that nobody will sell me a single piglet.”

How many boars, sows, and piglets can the druid buy so that he spends all his money?

Solution
Let the players work this out through trial and error, employing common sense if they wish, as it is a complex problem “using the math.”

However, suppose the druid buys x boars, y sows, and z pairs of piglets.

Then x + y + 2z = 100 (the number of animals), and 8x + 4y + z = 100 (the cost of the animals).

From the second equation we can say that z must be divisible by 4 so write z = 4t which gives us 8x + 4y + 4t = 100 or 2x + y + t = 25, and x + y + 8t = 100

From x + y + 8t =100 we know that t is less than 12.5, so must be 12 or less as the druid can’t buy a single piglet.

If we subtract the equations ([x + y + 8t] – [2x + y + t] = 100 – 75), we see that –x + 7t = 75, so t must be at least 11.

Using 2x + y + t = 25, we now know either that if t = 11, then x = 2 and y = 10 or if t = 12, then x = 9 and y = –5, which doesn’t make sense for this problem.

So, x = 2, y = 10 and t = 11. As 4t is the number of pairs of piglets, it means the druid buys two boars, ten sows, and 44 pairs of piglets, which is 2 + 10 + 88 pigs which equals 100 pigs.

We can also see the druid spends 2 x 8 gp on boars, 10 x 4 gp on sows, and 44 x 1 gp on piglets, which is 16 gp + 40 gp + 44 gp which equals 100 gp.

As I said earlier, let the players try out some numbers if the math slows the game down too much!

Riddle #7

“I am from a large family,

But considered closest to a handful of my brothers and sisters.

Whilst always one of many,

I am usually the one alone.

I am first in line, both of what we are and what we are called.

If I ply my trade, you can play.”

If you need some clues, suggest: a number; a letter; an instrument; a song.

Answer:  the letter A.

This is another riddle designed to give the answer alive-sounding qualities. Of course, “A” is the first letter of the alphabet and of the word “alphabet”. It is one of 26 letters but most closely thought of as a vowel; a “handful usually suggest four or five other things in riddles. It also indicates “a ‘something’” and, if added to the word “ply”, i.e., doing its job, becomes “play”.

Riddle #8

“I am always running swiftly, but can never leave my home.

My skin is easily broken, yet I carry heavy loads.

What lives within me cannot live long without;

What lives above me cannot live long below.

Whatever tries to stop me is eventually moved by me.”

If you need to offer clues, suggested answers are: the sun; time; the sea; the planet.

Answer: the sea or waves.

Here we see suggestions of tides, the erosion caused by waves, and that creature which live in the sea cannot live long outside of it and vice versa. In addition, the surface of the sea can easily be broken yet heavy ships sail on it.

Riddle #9

“I fly so very quickly if propelled across the air.

A truly powerful weapon if employed without a care.

Yet greater joy cannot be had if I am used for play.

‘Though if I do not come to mind, there’s nothing more to say!”

A variety of tools or such may be suggested, but the main clue is the second half of the final sentence.

Answer: words or language.

Riddles about letters, words and language as a whole have been used for thousands of years, as clever word play has been used to make telling points since the earliest of times. Here, we are considering the ideas of: quickness of speech; words as cutting weapons; the joy and pleasure they bring in, for examples, plays or comedies; and that if we cannot think of the right words, we say nothing either literally – we go quiet – or metaphorically – what we say means nothing.