Player Challenge #01 Keep ‘Em Separated

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0887

Here’s a fun way to challenge your players.

Have one character perform the actions. Have another describe what actions to take.

Make it so the players can’t see each other. They can only communicate by voice.

  • Separate rooms
  • Blindfolded
  • Sitting back-to-back

Optionally, you can have other players swap position with either player. However, at no time can the doer see the instructor.

Here are some examples of this in action.

Defuse the Bomb

Player A has the instruction manual or diagram but is sheltered away. Player B is with the bomb, following Player A’s instructions.

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Bypass the Trap

Like the bomb scenario. Perhaps Player B has a special defence or trait that makes them the best candidate for handling the trap while the rogue delivers the instructions.

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Cyrano de Bergerac

The character with charisma guides the social klutz or sociopath through awkward social situations.

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Solve the Puzzle

The puzzle key is in one place. The puzzle mechanism is in another.

For example, make a basic drawing out of squares, rectangles, and triangles. Make a copy and cut the drawing into its pieces so you have a pile of shapes in your hand. Player A can see the unified picture, Player B just has the paper shapes and must recreate the picture Player A sees.

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Take one of your social boardgames and put it in-game.

For example, a character is cursed with mute. And they’re illiterate. They can’t tell the other players what they saw, but they can draw it.

Another example, inspired by Og the RPG. Players can only use six or so specific words to communicate with each other. Perhaps they’ve been cursed, or a magical communication item limits them.

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A Good Learning

This Player Challenge will reveal communication styles, test player patience, and, hopefully, show your group how to communicate better in the future.

Give it a try and let me know how it plays out!

Thanks to Billy Nation for suggesting Escape Rooms as GM inspiration. This Player Challenge series is inspired, in part, by real world escape room puzzles.