Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

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Subutai
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Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Subutai » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:29 pm

I'm not looking for a solution to the puzzle here, but I think it should be established whether or not the Derro Temple puzzle requires skill checks to be able to solve.

The issue here is that if it does require skill checks (as seems to have been hinted in at least one forum post), players without OOC knowledge will never have any idea if they're even capable of solving the puzzle. This makes it not only frustrating, but in my own opinion a poorly conceived puzzle, as many (perhaps the majority of) players could spend hours, days, or weeks on it, trying every single possible combination of actions without ever being able to solve it, because their character doesn't have the right skill spread to be able to solve it at all. This makes it an infuriating waste of time, especially for such a low level writ.

If it does involve skill checks, it good solution might be to add a message "You feel that as much as you might search for a solution, you'll never spot how to solve it." Give the players some clue that they won't be able to solve it, but some hint as to what would be required.

It can still be a puzzle, and still be challenging, but if certain skill points are currently required, it shouldn't simply silently prevent you from ever solving it without them.

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by RedGiant » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:26 am

I was just about to make my own Derro Temple thread! Not to hijack this thread, but, I agree that the Temple puzzle is non easily solved. There are several other related problems with this area, IMO.

When you even take the first Derro writ, it requires you to execute a Derro Lord Savant. I took a lvl 6 on this mission this afternoon. I literally spent aaaaall afternoon finishing this one writ. I did not find a Derro Lord Savant till the 4th lvl, with the 3rd lvl being the Fungal Maze, which itself is a heavy time investment. I literally hit lvl 7 just trying to nab a Derro Lord Savant and get back, spending literal IRL hours on this. Maybe there is a quicker way back, but if you can't get in the Temple, which I couldn't, you have to slog back through the maze and aaall the way out the way you came in, inevitably ruining things for the inevitable party descending.

So, in short Derro writs are currently heavily complicated by...
1) Temple Puzzle (Not necessarily problematic)
2) No set Derro Savant Lord spawn in the upper levels
3) No fast travel out

*edit I just realized we always dog-pile on the problems. This being said, its a really neat addition. The NPCs are hilarious. The secrets are many and compelling. I think with a few minor tweaks this entire sequence is a real.....gem. *snicker*
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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Subutai » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:46 am

This being said, its a really neat addition. The NPCs are hilarious. The secrets are many and compelling. I think with a few minor tweaks this entire sequence is a real.....gem. *snicker*
I think this is what makes it especially frustrating. It genuinely is a lot of fun, and has some really interesting and neat ideas. The person I went with told me OOC beforehand that it was frustrating, and throughout the entire thing, I couldn't really see why. I was having a lot of fun going through the entire area. Then we hit the puzzle at the end, spent about 2 hours trying to solve it, and realized we had to buy portal lenses from one or the merchants there because there wasn't a way to go back. It gets frustrating because it's not a mediocre dungeon. It's a really good and interesting dungeon. But the end really torpedoes it, unfortunately.

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Skibbles » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:35 am

I rolled up a new character some time back to play around and spent two days trying to figure out how to find the Savant much less solve the other quest.

I was on a graveyard schedule so my peak hours were around 15 people on C&P at the time leaving me with few options of asking around unless I just started spamming everyone in tells for a solution.

These quests made me feel ultimately frustrated to the point where I ended up just dropping the contracts and never returning.
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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Anatida » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:54 pm

Subutai wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:29 pm
If it does involve skill checks, it good solution might be to add a message "You feel that as much as you might search for a solution, you'll never spot how to solve it." Give the players some clue that they won't be able to solve it, but some hint as to what would be required.
This is a pretty great suggestion! Thank you. I think I can make something like this work.

RedGiant wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:26 am
*edit I just realized we always dog-pile on the problems. This being said, its a really neat addition. The NPCs are hilarious. The secrets are many and compelling. I think with a few minor tweaks this entire sequence is a real.....gem. *snicker*
Thank you!

I understand that the dungeon is different than what people are used to, especially on low-level writs. I also, whole-heartedly understand the disappointment and frustration of spending so much time and still not finding the answer. I'm a bit sad myself, because to my knowledge no one has solved it yet.

I am all for feedback such as Subutai's that will help tweak things in a way that will be helpful to the players without compromising the intent of the setting.

I am going to make one comment; not in relation to anything said in this thread OR anyone's choice of playstyle. It is merely information based on several previous threads and private messages:
The Derro writs are listed for levels 8-12. I did my testing with a level 9 rogue.
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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Subutai » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:04 pm

Thank you very much!

I apologize if I came off a little strong. I love solving puzzles, and I was really excited to come across what seemed like was going to be a fun and challenging puzzle in a game that's otherwise almost entirely devoid of them. This made me pretty frustrated when it became increasingly evident that my character simply didn't have the skill points assigned to solve it, no matter how much I might be trying to do so, myself.

All that said, I hope you won't take any of this as discouraging you from making more puzzles in the future. I know that a lot of people don't like puzzles in NWN because their replayability is low, but if there are enough of them, and maybe if the solutions change occasionally, I think it could make a fun alternative to the standard "run through a dungeon, kill everything that moves, get the treasure" standard.

So I do want to say, despite my frustrations with the Derro puzzle, thank you very much for putting it in. I look forward to eventually solving it, or another puzzle my character might have the skills to solve.

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by RedGiant » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:12 am

Anatida wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:54 pm
Thank you!

I understand that the dungeon is different than what people are used to, especially on low-level writs. I also, whole-heartedly understand the disappointment and frustration of spending so much time and still not finding the answer. I'm a bit sad myself, because to my knowledge no one has solved it yet.

I am all for feedback such as Subutai's that will help tweak things in a way that will be helpful to the players without compromising the intent of the setting.

I am going to make one comment; not in relation to anything said in this thread OR anyone's choice of playstyle. It is merely information based on several previous threads and private messages:
The Derro writs are listed for levels 8-12. I did my testing with a level 9 rogue.
I think there is another problem then. "Cull the Derro" is a lvl 1-10 writ. This is the writ where you cannot find a Savant Lord until the 4th lvl, which then invokes all my previous observations.

*Edit: I think this problem is actually worse than I first thought. On the writ now, scoured all four levels clean with a lvl 8, cannot find a Derro Lord Savant aaaaanywhere. Writ is incomplete. With summons, I have 32 lvls of HD on the map...they just aren't spawning. This is similar to the ongoing vexation of the Mingon plant where you run around hoping a certain type of monster [*Artificer] will randomly spawn so that you can continue and the Ice Caves writ, which is also dependent upon another minority mob [*Ice Spider Hatchling] spawning in great numbers.

Recommend set boss Derro Lord Savant spawn somewhere on first two levels for this opening Derro Writ. (Note: This is not the Norough Norr writ, which I would expect to up the difficulty.)

*Edits
Last edited by RedGiant on Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Anatida » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:02 am

Thank you RG. I have passed this info on!
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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Subutai » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:24 pm

Not to harp on this subject, but only because you've been wonderfully responsive so far, Anatida (thank you for that!). I was discussing this with someone, and we thought one of the problems with the puzzle being tied to skill checks is that half the writ is locked behind the puzzle. That means that the writ can only be completed by someone who has the right skills. Everyone else spends about 2 hours working their way down to the temple only to be abruptly cut off from completing the writ at all.

It would be awesome if the writ itself could be completed before entering the temple, and maybe the temple has something extra, like maybe a chest with loot that's 1-2 tiers higher than the area. Fight your way down the the temple and you can complete the writ. Complete the puzzle and you can get some nice loot.

Alternatively, remove the skill points from the puzzle altogether. There were a bunch of gems in the puzzle container when I went there, and I thought I had to either remove or place the right gems inside to somehow match the gems inside with the gems on the ground, or match the removed gems with the gems on the ground, which seemed like a fun puzzle to solve. Maybe more so if there was a pattern established elsewhere in the Derro town, and you had to apply it carefully at the temple.

Possible compromise? Make the puzzle solvable by everyone, if they investigate and follow the clues, but outright display the solution to people who make the skill checks? Maybe with a dialog box "You've found what looks like the solution to the temple's puzzle! Do you want to read it?" which would give people who have the skill points the option to solve it themselves, or to just skip straight to the end. Essentially, making the necessary skill checks would allow you to bypass the puzzle for the most part, but not having the skills would still allow you to solve it on your own.

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Sea Shanties » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:33 pm

Thanks for addressing this. I also wrote off the area but will put more effort into returning. I think the levels on the writs might need to be looked at.. Pretty sure I was able to take both derro quests at level 3. Apologies if I remember incorrectly or it's been changed, I don't have a low enough level character to check at the moment.

Just my worthless 2 cents but from a player standpoint it's really difficult to tell if something is a FOIG mystery that works but is so difficult or arcane no one has solved it yet or if it's a feature that's incomplete or broken and any time spent is going to be a frustrating waste. I suspect a lot of us just walk away when something doesn't work or is inscrutable because there is a lot in the game that's "coming soon" or used to do something once and doesn't now, or just doesn't work right and the devs hadn't had time to fix it. So you kind of need hype and feedback (ideally in game, but this helps too) to prod you along and let you know it's worth the effort.

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by SayaMustFight » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:00 pm

I spent 30+ hours on this puzzle the first week it came out. I remember encountering half the arcanum trying to solve it and finding I had taking trying to find a solution way further than anyone else I met had.

The most interesting proposed solution was from a friend of the char I was trying to solve it with who suggested putting a fish in the bowl.

I've tried everything logical and illogical I could think of and combed all three very large maps several times. I did it with a char who had high rogue skills 18 wiz/1 rogue and I did not find search, open lock or spot to help.

I also have some more ideas since then but they are all shots in the dark I feel and its not worth going back and being frustrated.

Something I disagree with a bit is my enchantress dominating and charming derro does not help as there is a text box specifying there must be a way the derro are getting to and from the temple. Domination from a gsf ench arcane caster should be enough to get the information out of the derro whether or not they want to or not or to force them to open it for you.


If its gated i would propose that it might be best to provide several separate solutions each with different gating, that way a group of people going has a good shot at having a chance to solve it.
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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by RedGiant » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:42 am

Just checked and both Derro writs are lvls 1-10.

I love the many puzzles Arelith contains. Some are gated behind particular skills while others or not. I think the latter method should be preferred, relying on sheer logic, context clues, player creativity...or some combination thereof. Please don't remove the puzzle(s) however! Maybe just find a way to make them accessible to all? (That is, if they are not already.)
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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Selinth » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:08 am

Yeah. I was with a party who solved it. The char who solved it didn't really share the solution with us, he did it mostly on his own with us trying to figure it out in our own, unsuccessful ways.

He wouldn't tell me anything about it after the fact, but I have a general idea of how to deal with it. Problem seems to be I must lack a skill of some kind. Just not sure what. I've spent literally almost 6 or 7 hours today on this, and to get to the point where its just 'hey, sucks to be a druid huh' and I have to go back and abandon the writ, or beg this guy to come along and help me solve it again, which he won't say how, its just probably going to be 'go stand in the other room while I run around and solve this' Because I can't help even if I wanted to.

I don't mind chests being locked and only getting partial loot for smashing them. I don't mind some doors being locked and me not being able to break through, especially since the stuff behind it isn't super crazy important, like a writ that gives tons of xp, along with treasure, monsters, a whole dungeon, etc.

It just feels kinda like some DM's I've had irl. They have a concept for a puzzle and its super cool. They really like it and give it to the party. The wizard tries to teleport (no teleport zone) the rogue tries to pick the mechanism (too complex) The druid tries to have an elephant charge through the wall (that wall might also be adamantine who knows) Fighter tries to climb over (also its slippery and smooth and greased) Warlock tries to melt the metal mechanism (its warded) sorcerer tries to dispel (warded by Snuggle a Bugbear Mystra themself).

I'd really prefer a cool puzzle, with a few different solutions. Skills make it easier, faster, less enemies, etc. Like the door shortcuts in some areas. But lacking those skills doesn't make it completely impossible. Because lets be real. That temple building looks wooden and I could probably burn that down. At this point I'd probably burn the whole bloody town with how many in game day's ive been in that maze.

I like the idea. It could just use some more options in my opinion. Or a BIG NEON FLASHING WARNING because I've spent so long on this. I made a color coded Snuggle a Bugbear map in paint, along with a spreadsheet of possible solutions/combinations that I've been working on and trying and slowly filling in, and It has been a huge, HUGE, waste of my time. Makes me want to do something else entirely. I love puzzles. This feels less like a puzzle and more like me trying to open a door I haven't got the proper key to, but somebody still handed me a ring of hundreds of keys and never bothered to tell me none of them would work. So I'm sitting there, trying key after key, and it will never work. and I just start wondering, maybe I didn't put the key in all the way, which way does the lock tube turn? did I try both? did I just skip a key? Etc.

Sorry I'm a bit upset about it. Its just been a lot of time invested and I'm gonna go sleep before I pass out.

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Scraps » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:43 pm

It does to my knowledge require skill checks, at least one spot check. I have completed it once in a group.

Which is what I find frustrating. You've got a puzzle, with a basin surrounded with gems. If you examine the basin you will get a semi-ooc "This is a Puzzle, are you smart enough to solve it?" rather than any hints to the puzzle itself.

-And if you didn't know about the skillchecks, you can pointlessly ram your head into this puzzle for hours and hours. -Never making headway because you don't even have the ability to see the pieces in the first places.

So you've got a low level dungeon where builds have their fewest tools, have poor access to gear to shore up weaknesses- Not that you'd ever know what you would need to gear, mind. And absolutely nothing connecting the solution to the puzzle itself.



Apologies if I'm coming off as upset, I'll be honest and say the puzzle did kind of upset me.

I'd have preferred something like the somewhat contained puzzles of the Underdark Tomb, or the A+ cruel brain teasers of the Minogon Plant that make you go "Ohhh!" when your group finally piece them together.

Derro Temple is throwing spaghetti at the wall, the floor, the ceiling, the drapes again and again until something sticks. Because it doesn't have any real direction.

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by Ork » Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:18 pm

I thought I had the solution. I entered the temple. I rejoiced and clapped myself on the back. I return to do it again, just to make sure I got it right. Everything I did was wrong, the door did not open, I am genuinely confused.

I was duped. My only thought is someone did it sneakily because the method I used to open the door didn't work a second time. I have genuinely no idea how to solve this puzzle, and it is disheartening to learn I was wrong.

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by malcolm_mountainslayer » Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:21 pm

I did myself a favour and never looked back at the derros after the lord savant did not spawn with 3 seperate attempts

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Re: Derro Temple Puzzle - Does it require skill checks?

Post by NauVaseline » Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:56 pm

A paradigm of good game design is to give players tools to solve your puzzles. There's a reason adventure games with solutions that make no sense/have no IG lead-up are panned.

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