If you want to spice up your D&D storytelling, diversify the puzzles or even give more depth to combat you can do so by adding riddles. They can force the players to think, give more colour to the setting and even turn fights into more than only hitting stuff until it dies (besides making the enemies smarter). Creating those riddles is easier then you might think. Although the writing of deep and meaningful riddles is a true art, creating them as an added challenge for your game can be done in two easy steps.
First you need to decide on the answer of the riddle, base it around the theme of your dungeon/castle/etc. Secondly you cryptically describe that answer in four to eight sentences. Describe it’s properties, daily use and/or objects it might look like. A sun for example could be described as a light bringer, a time teller and the first wheel created.
Once you have your riddle you need to choose how to place it in your location. You can have the text written up inside on a wall, floor or ceiling. But players can also find it on a map, hear it in rumours or hear it emanate when stepping inside the room. Lastly you need to choose how the players need to answer the riddle. Do they yell it out loud, tap the right icon, pull a lever or use the riddle to walk through the correct door? Get creative with it and keep switching it up to keep them on their toes.
Punishments and rewards
There need to be consequences for answering the riddle right or wrong. Succeeding could lead further inside, to a treasure or might remove an obstacle. Failing however needs to be punished. Clearly the answerer is not worthy of moving forward and should learn a harsh lesson, be locked out or be killed. A boulder could come rolling, arrows could be fired or monsters could get released. Make sure to scale the damage to fit the setting and a CR they can handle (What is CR?).
Need maps for your encounters?
These 5 map designs are what you are looking for. Available with square and hexagon grids.
Fan fiction D&D one-shots
Are you ready to play some D&D, and do you want to further explore fantasy worlds like that of Harry Potter, Pokémon, Hunger Games or Avatar? Try out these free one-shots!