Room Two: Puzzle Or Roleplaying Challenge
“The PCs are victorious over the challenge of the first room and are now presented with a trial that cannot be solved with steel. This keeps problem solvers in your group happy and breaks the action up for good pacing.“
Indiana punches and shoots his way through the Nepal bar sequence—the steel. Any lesser film could have continued on this route, but instead, the story offers us a chance to see our hero use his knowledge and wits to solve his latest challenge. This offers more character depth and intrigue for the cinematic audience.
Sure, Rambo and John Matrix from Commando can certainly shoot their way through everything, but it’s characters like Indiana Jones that offer just a bit more to appreciate.
Indiana and Marion travel to Cairo, where they meet up with Sallah, a skilled excavator. Sallah informs them that Belloq and the Nazis are digging for the Well of Souls using a replica of the artifact that was burned into Toht’s hand at the end of Room One.
Indiana realizes that the artifact has two sides, thus the Nazi’s are using an incomplete piece to the puzzle of finding the location of the Ark. After Marion is abducted, Indy and Sallah infiltrate the Nazi dig site and use their staff to correctly locate the Ark.
Indy discovers Marion is alive, bound and gagged in a tent, but does not release her for fear of alerting the Nazis. Indy, Sallah, and a small group of diggers unearth the Well of Souls and acquire the Ark after also using their wits to evade an endless pile of vipers.
All of this is done without the use of “steel”, requiring the hero to use his knowledge and wits to solve the conflict at hand.
“Once you’ve figured out what Room Two is, try to plant one or more clues in Room One about potential solutions. This ties the adventure together a little tighter, will delight the problem solvers, and can be a back-up for you if the players get stuck.“
When you’ve figured out what aspects you’ll be tackling in this second challenge (Room Two), you can go back and add some story plants in Act I (Room One) to tie everything together so that audiences can remember back to those details, thus strengthening your story while offering validation and continuity.
Remember back to the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy escapes the natives and flies off in his pilot’s plane. He’s horrified to see that the pilot’s pet snake has dropped onto his lap. Indy is visibly horrified as he screams back to his pilot, “I hate snakes… I hate ’em!” He is later forced to face his greatest fear, multiplied by thousands.