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I am playing a table top role playing game and want my players to discover two words by putting together different hints. Let's assume the words are "devourer" and "avocado".

I was thinking of a simple anagram, such that for the word devourer maybe the players would discover the letters o e v e r u r d over parts of the game and they need to put it together. But that seems a bit boring to me. I believe the level of difficult for anagram is appropriate however, and it is important that the players can figure it out. I'm assuming this is not very difficult, correct?

I was thinking for avocado the players could discover 5A 6D 2V 3O 4C 1A 7O over a long period of time, and that they could put this together to spell out AVOCADO. Again however this seems a bit boring, although maybe more unique than an anagram.

The players will be discovering these hints in a book that can include almost anything a book can include, with the caveat that the book is in their imagination and not an actual book (this is a role playing game). For example I could say to the player that he discovers "A1" in the book or sees a serpent or something, but can't present an actual image.

I should add that I could present an actual cool image to my players if I think it is worth it, but the caveat is that the player needs to discover these words over 12 months and if I can't present the entire puzzle at once.

What would be some fun/unique and relatively easy puzzles for people to put words together?

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  • $\begingroup$ Has a useful answer been given? If so, please don't forget to $\color{green}{\checkmark \small\text{Accept}}$ it :) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Jun 19 at 12:02
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How about a simple one and the hints are words instead of letters? (And these words hide the letters for the real words.)

Here is one possible way.

Suppose you want to hide a word AVOCADO. There are $7$ letters. You then need to create $7$ words that start with letter 'A', 'B', 'C', up to 'G'; and consecutively end with letter 'A', 'V', 'O', up to 'O'.

For examples, you may hint these words:

ACACIA
BREZHNEV
CRESCENDO
DYADIC
EUPHORIA
FLABBERGASTED
GIZMO

This works better if you also tell beforehand that the secret word consists of $7$ letters (and none of your hints have $7$ letters).

The longer secret word, the better. As if they are progressing, they may start to notice that all hint words are having different first letters, especially if they are listing them lexicographically.

Alternatively, you may use exactly $26$ hint words so each alphabet will be used. The secret word then may not have $26$ letters, you may use "THEREALSECRETWORDISAVOCADO" as the ending letters.

Moreover, they also don't need to find all hint words. It may be sufficient to notice the pattern at some point, and try to fill in the blank (for example, they haven't got the the word EUPHORIA).

Hope this will help you to give some ideas!

(Kudos to this tool for finding the words.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! This is a good idea. I am concerned it may be too difficult, but I'm sure I could work with that! $\endgroup$ – Behacad Jun 14 at 22:22
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Simplicity isn't a bad thing

Don't get caught up in wanting to make your puzzle as complicated as possible while still being solvable. This puzzle is lent a great deal of uniqueness by the fact that they'll be putting it together over the course of 18 months. Don't go overboard in making it more than it needs to be. I don't know what level of puzzle your players are used to from you, but if I put together clues over the course of an 18-month campaign, I'd feel accomplished in solving it even if the actual puzzle-solving step was as simple as an anagram.

Also consider the fact that the added complexity from the extremely long clue-gathering time may obfuscate the puzzle more than you think. It's easy to take the high-level view now, but how sure are you that your players will even recognize these clues as things that should be saved to be put together at the end? I think your main concern needs to be making sure you're leaving enough breadcrumbs to make your players aware they're making progress in a giant puzzle, not complicating it.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't want the puzzle to be complicated, I made that clear by stating I want them to solve it. I did use the term simple to describe the AVOCADO one, and perhaps that was a mistake. I am more concerned about this being boring. Is an anagram really the best I can come up with? Everyone has done it. I'd rather they do something just as easy that is not something they've done before. I am looking for fun options or puzzles that perhaps they haven't done before. $\endgroup$ – Behacad Jun 14 at 16:09

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