The co-creator of DnD, Gary Gygax, is known for his cleverly designed puzzles and traps which can surprise even the most skilful of players. This was proved recently in a description about one of his early games. It was Jim Ward, himself a wily veteran and a TSR employee, who shared some personal stories about Gygax's earliest ventures in Gygax's own created dungeon — the legendary Castle Greyhawk. The revealing anecdotes offer quite an intriguing insight into the quirky Dungeon Master's pranks and tricks, showing why one of the oldest Dungeon Masters is also one of the most sly.
The door puzzle
The puzzle anecdote that has got the DnD community in fire is about some bulky stone doors right in the middle of Greyhawk. The doors were apparently locked, and no attempt was successful at opening them. The thieves' lockpicking, the Knock spell which normally opens locks in a flash -- none of them worked. Ward recalled how it took "months and months" for them to discover that the locks in the door's center were fake. Alas, the real lock was on the side of the door instead!
Was it a bit too simple to your expectations? Well, sometimes, players rely too much on spells and powerful skills to plow through any obstacle. Sometimes, all that is needed to get an "Aha!" moment is to put this kind of obstacle -- one than makes you say, "Oh! I should have thought of that" even though you got stuck for several months for this.
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