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Average Rating:3.5 / 5
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101 Fantasy Riddles
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101 Fantasy Riddles
Publisher: Stainless Steel Dragon
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/23/2010 15:37:51
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!]
Publisher Reply:
A fair review. Yes designed so game masters don't need to look up riddles. (If they so choose.) Yes there is exactly 101 riddles as the title suggests. (What would someone say if I offered any more or any less?) Most of the riddles are original, but yes a few are classics. (To those who already know them.) RPG monsters were not included in this volume, maybe volume II. I will think about it for the sequel. (Some can be pretty obscure and not suitable to character knowledge, even if the player knows the answer.) There are a few that related to wizards, kings, castles, drawbridges and the like. All have a serious medieval flavor to them that any fantasy character (If not their players) might be able to answer. That is what I was going for. Nuff’ said.
101 Fantasy Riddles
Publisher: Stainless Steel Dragon
by Richard K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2009 14:56:18
I received the revised edition of the book. I read it in one afternoon, it takes about an hour to go through it if you read them with their answers and don’t stop to figure them out. I found no distracting typos or problems with classic poems.

I did think the book had some interesting cover art, obviously an edited photo, perhaps a riddle? (I usually print these things out and put them in three-ring-binder so cover art matters to me.)

I found the book had some well placed bookmarks. They are placed so users can either call up the riddles with the answers, or without the answers. (In case they are buying this book for themselves.) The bookmarks also allow users to call up riddles by numbers or by topics. So the DM can randomly generate a riddle or look one up for a special purpose. (I plan to do it both ways in my own games.)

Personally, I don’t believe players should be given hints. I can’t think of a single case in any literally work where the villain or hero offered hints. (Except perhaps a comedy.) If DMs have a ready list of hints at their finger-tips they tend to use them too soon, which may rob their players/characters of the challenge of solving things on their own. If a riddle turns out to be too tough for their players the DM can always have their characters make intelligence rolls to solve the riddle. (Perhaps dock them some XP for it.) I mentioned the above – because this book does not give hints and I for one am totally good with that.

As the other reviewers of this book have mentioned, the riddles in the book are pretty good. A most excellent mixture of classic riddles many done with Tolkien-like poetry all relative to a fantasy role-playing environment. Riddles range from moderately simple to moderately complex. (Of course, difficulty is in the mind of the beholder.) The author includes a lot of all new riddles with interesting fantasy subjects like drawbridges, castle walls, moats, seven virtues/vices, love and even one unusually poetic one about wine.

I can find no major fault in this book, except I would like to see a lot more riddle/poems by this author. (For the price, I think the book has nice value.) Some of the classic riddles in this book may be found in other books or on the web, but most of the riddles in this book are the original work of this author which makes this book a unique collection of riddles found nowhere else. (Which is really good if you have players who read and know a lot of the classic previously published riddles as I do.) I believe this book is a must-have-reference for any DM who wants to test the minds as well of as the swords of their players. I think it will add hours of wonder and entertainment to my games, and therefore I must give it my highest recommendation.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the good review. Yes, I fixed a few problems noted by previous critcs/readers. Hopefully it will prove to be a classic role-playing aid.
101 Fantasy Riddles
Publisher: Stainless Steel Dragon
by Keith B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2009 09:30:11
I love a good riddle of the classic type. This book is chock full of riddles from classic sources, Tolkien re-treads, and originals. Collections such as this are not easy to find.

What keeps me from rating this higher is the lack of editing. There are numerous grammar errors (such as 'to' instead of 'too' - "My face is often to high to see"), wrong words ("I walk all day on are head"), and places where things just got messed up, such as this botched classic: "What walks on four legs, then two legs, then three on three legs?".

Overall, good content, but feels like a rush job which detracts from the overall enjoyment. Looking forward to a cleaned up second edition.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks for this feedback. I have edited out all known typo's and grammatical errors and have reworked a few rough poems. Revised edition will be uploaded Friday March 6th. Patrons who have bought this edition should be able to freely update it with the revised edition. All others are advised to wait until Saturday to make their purchases to get the error free edition.
101 Fantasy Riddles
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!]
Publisher 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 Contact Info: JonVolden@DunJon.Com
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