PARMA, Ohio ー A D&D Dungeon Master had his fingers crossed while staying silent during a tabletop RPG session on Saturday, hoping players would figure out a solution to his puzzle before realizing he’d forgotten to write one himself.
“To start off, I described this series of ancient rotating blocks,” explained Derek Gilfoyle, this session’s Dungeon Master. “Like giant tetrominoes, magically gyrating in some Lovecraftian Hellraiser puzzle cube. But I completely forgot to come up with a reason for why the blocks are there, or how the hell they’re related to opening the front door at the very beginning. Maybe one of them will just… figure it out for me?”
Frustrated and wrenching at the strands of his thinning hair, Gilfoyle painted a stressful vision of the encounter; his players on the other hand were enthralled.
“Derek’s a genius,” said Alyssa Carlo, one of the campaign’s players. “You could tell he put a lot of time and effort into designing this puzzle because it was filled with so many seemingly disparate parts. You had the rotating blocks, a door without a keyhole, a statue of a goblin milking a goat, and a god-like ethereal voice that kept telling us to ‘think outside the box.’ I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know it’s going to be so satisfying.”
Despite the sweat dripping from his forehead and his near cardiac arrest, Derek managed to hide behind his DM screen for four hours while the players wracked their brains.
“At one point the players arranged the mystical blocks into a gigantic goat-milking apparatus, then hooked the largest player up to it,” Gilfoyle recalled. “I was right about to tell them they had solved the puzzle just to prevent things from getting graphic or disturbing, but then the guy playing the rogue stopped everybody and said they had it all backwards. ‘The blocks should be arranged to form a goat, and we all have to dress and act like goblins to milk it.’ They were so into it, I didn’t have the heart to tell them I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Why did I agree to run this stupid campaign?”
At press time, none of the players in the campaign had picked up on the DM’s ennui in the slightest and had even committed him to running the game for the next six weeks.