Alternate Paradox Box as the AP opening - Spoiler


Shattered Star


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I didn't really like the opening scene of this AP. The writer probably wanted to introduce the newly formed adventuring party with something else besides the cliché CR1/3 monster ambush, which is something I approve of. However, as written, I don't imagine the puzzle box working in this way. The puzzle is essentially just an anagram and as a non-native English speaker I couldn't possibly have solved it, since I have never heard of the word 'Lucre'. The entire encounter would just boil down to an Intelligence check == boring.

This is really unfortunate. I love puzzles and I love unorthodox scenario's even more, so I created an alternative Paradox Box as a nice puzzle oriented intro for this AP. The design goal was to be able to give the players something they can actually interact with and to take away from the focus of miniature battlegames, yet be easy enough to solve to not distract to much from the game.

Have fun with these :)

Just make sure your players have not played the Baldurs Gate 2 PC game already.


Bog wrote:
Just make sure your players have not played the Baldurs Gate 2 PC game already.

Aw. I was super excited until this bit! Where on earth am I supposed to find tabletop roleplaying gamers who haven't played Baldur's Gate 2?

Seriously though, this is pretty cool. I like it much better than the anagram, which I fear is going to be trivial or impossible based on whether or not people know a specific word.


Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
Aw. I was super excited until this bit! Where on earth am I supposed to find tabletop roleplaying gamers who haven't played Baldur's Gate 2?

*sheepishly raises hand*

Sovereign Court

This is very very cool :-)


An update on how the thing turned out; I started my party in Shattered Star last night and the puzzle box really worked. It took some 20 minutes before the puzzle was solved. I think the scenario including the Pugwampi was very enjoyable.

As a bonus, my players decided to explore the library at Magnimar and then even more parts of the city, emphasizing the city as the central hub of the adventure.

Sovereign Court

Is there a grand libary in Magnimar???
Did I miss it in the City of Monuments??

Grand Lodge Contributor

There is a grand library. It's part library, part museum if I recall. It's on the Summit somewhere. I don't have the book with me so I can't be mroe specific.


Mostly I just hate anagrams in RPG puzzles. You're not speaking English. Things that are anagrams in English wouldn't be in common and this kind of puzzle just drops me right out of character.

And of course, it's a silly lock. Why make your password a real word someone can guess. OTOH, it's just shuffling 5 characters around. There are only 120 possibilities. You could probably brute force it faster than solving the anagram: Certainly in less than the minimum 50 minutes required for the Intelligence checks.

Those riddles aren't bad. I like that you get to choose between answers. It makes it easier, but also gets rid of the bickering about what was a better answer.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I'm always really REALLY hesitant to include anagram or other puzzles and riddles that depend on a single language, because it these puzzles can really easily take you out of the context of the game if the players simply aren't good at those kinds of puzzles.

But at the same time... earlier editions of the game quite often had word puzzles and the like, and so I broke my own rule in this one and fully embraced the anagram nature of the puzzle, since there's a certain amount of value in nostalgia, particularly in an adventure series like Shattered Star.

But that's still no excuse to punish players of Intelligence 25 characters. Just as a physical weak player can play a Strength 25 barbarian and smash down doors, there should be rules for a mediocre intellect player playing an Intelligence 25 character to "smash down puzzles."

Early editions of the game didn't have a robust skills system. Non-weapon proficiencies came around late in 1st edition D&D and were a partially optional rule in 2nd edition, but it wasn't until 3rd edition that skills were really codified. As such, there's a long tradition in the game of having mind-bender puzzles like this in adventures where your character's skills and abilities didn't provide much help. That's not the game we have today. As a result, that's why the original rules for solving the puzzle using Linguistics checks or Intelligence checks remains in the game.

Pick the version your table enjoys more and you're golden.

As for it being a silly lock... it's not really MEANT to be something that is impenetrable. It's as much an old Thassilonian vanity item as it is anything else; it's a show of skill and wealth to have something like this, kind of like having a puzzle box or bar-room puzzle sitting on a coffee table when people come to visit, or an intricate jewelry box that requires a puzzle to open.

If the owner of a paradox box really wants the contents to be secure, it can be put in a slightly larger box or vault.


Later in the AP there is another anagram puzzle. Did you create an alternate for that anagram as well?

I am ok with the anagram puzzles, but this box is too good to not use!


Unfortunately no. What I did was give Sheila the party a handout of items as they were about to enter the crow. One of them was a Scroll of Knock.

I described the room as to have several broken lockpicks lying around the door. All of them bend beyond usefulness or partly molten and re-solidified. The party was supposed to either use the scroll, or the masterwork thieves tools hidden in the Cat Burglars Boots from Natalya (they were described to be particularly sturdy). Still a better encounter than the anagram imho :/


I never would have guess the anagram answer as I didn't even know lucre was a word. Thank goodness I was GM-ing. :) One of the players figured it out pretty quickly. The same player also solved the door puzzle in the crow.


I just ran across these and I'm bad at riddles. Can anyone give me the answers?


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two of the players in my group loves puzzles in dungeony games so they have enjoyed them

May throw a few more in that I have been working on

-New Hearts

Spoiler:
The answer

Ok, that one was quite easy

-How about this one.

Ahead are four stone tablets, one of which you are sure opens the door ahead if you can solves the riddle. Each tablet has pictures of weapons on
There is

Dagger Sword
Sword Sap
Sword Shield
Net Sword

A sign nearby says "Which of these gains you access forward?"

Scarab Sages

I had to look up LUCRE before running this part, but 2 of my players guessed it in less than a minute. They weren't 100% sure what it meant but they knew it was a word.


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I changed it to VEIL, which would spell EVIL. The cleric instantly guessed it.


VEIL...I like it its simple and will keep the action going.

Grand Lodge

I'm a native English speaker, and a writer, and I have a fairly good vocabulary, and I'd never heard of the word Lucre either.

The anagram puzzle doesn't make any sense because it's supposed to be in ancient Thassilonian. Most of you probably know that a word in two different languages won't have the same number of letters. You can't do an anagram puzzle in a different language. It just doesn't work that way.

None of my players are linguists, however they are smart enough to realize this instantly. Not only does it break versimillitude, it will just come across as dumb.

I guess using the skill checks is the way to go, though it would be much more fun to have a puzzle the players can solve instead of just rolling dice. Using VEIL and EVIL is a good fix (at least they're words that are in common usage that the players will know), but honestly I don't think the puzzle is good enough to justify breaking the fourth wall like it does.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks Bog, I'm using this.
(Even if my players has played BG2, I didn't remeber it and I don't think they will either).


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I made the box. I cut it up and made it a huge 5X5 inch monstrosity. glued it together. I made a note that said "roll initiative!!" Put that inside along with 2 pugwampi pawns.

should be fun when this comes up.

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