Puzzles on the Road- A One-Shot TTRPG Experience Plot in Secret Agent Someone | World Anvil


Puzzles on the Road

You're a training Introductory Intern who has been studying up on the past missions of Elite agents to learn what to do and what not to do when facing dire situations. As a fun exercise, your mentor has decided to send you off with a few others on a Road Trip just like the one Someone Elsewood and Constance Harbor took a while ago. While theirs ultimately had higher stakes and actual danger, yours is only a test. Still, it is one you would not like to fail, as doing so would cause you to flunk your entire class and have to re-enroll next year. You can't let that happen or you'll never be taken seriously, so, you pack your favorite snacks, gather your mental gusto, and load up into the C.A.R....  

I created this One-Shot TTRPG for EnigMarch, vssCollab, Camp NaNoWriMo, & Adventure April!


Use this article to run a fun adventure for yourself or others. If you're looking for more fun with the book without spoilers, check out Puzzles for the Road to read the magazine as a standalone, or The Road Trip to peek in on shenanigans with Someone and Constance!


Take it for a test drive!

Watch the madness unfold in this actual play from WorldAnvil's Play May 2023 event where I hosted a stream, running two different parties through the one-shot adventure!

Get This Show On The Road!





To begin, the Interns start out with their C.A.R. at a rest stop. They can specify which items they have or what they purchase before starting. Then, they load into the vehicle and the Mentor (over the phone, via the C.A.R., etc) remotely briefs them. Use the DIRECTIVES table to determine the mission.


In addition to the details of the operation, their Mentor will also tell them to look in the glove compartment to find a special puzzle book for them to work through as a team-building exercise. To prove that the Interns are bonding, their Mentor will check in ever so often for an answer to one or more of the puzzles. The original Puzzles For The Road book that comes with this one-shot has 31 separate puzzles and one ending puzzle. Depending upon time restraints, the Mentor can ask for the answers to a cluster of puzzles. However you choose to split this up, each puzzle (or puzzle cluster) will take place between designated action encounters.   If puzzle-solving is not desired, for each puzzle point, roll a level set for each puzzle. This can be the same number every time, or different each time. Then, have a member of the party roll for a certain skill. Rotate chosen Interns and skills to keep things interesting.   Examples: INTELLIGENCE. Intern already “knows” the answer to the puzzle in-game. CHARISMA Intern convinces their C.A.R. or another NPC to tell them the answer. STRENGTH Intern wins a challenge with muscle to earn the answer out of another. WISDOM Intern is smart enough to “solve” the puzzle in-game. DEXTERITY Intern manages to sneak a peek at the answer key without being caught.   If the answer is correct, the mentor will reward the Interns with something that helps them. This could be money digitally sent over to purchase snacks at the next rest stop, or a message informing them of some special prize already hidden within their vehicle. The prize could be for the group to share, or, the Interns may need to decide who gets it. If the answer is incorrect, reference the CHAOS METER.


Between puzzles, there will be designated action encounters. Depending on the directive, this could be to sightsee, take photos, submit information, or follow the random requests of a picky guest.   At each designated action encounter, the Interns must tell how they approach the situation, rolling for the skill that best fits. If the task involves being discreet at a live drop, the Intern must roll for DEXTERITY. If they need to transmit signals, the Intern must roll for INTELLIGENCE. If the mission is simply to travel from one point to the next, you can throw in reasons for stopping such as restroom breaks or snack fills. If they fail, things can go awry. Fights can ensue, accidents can happen, and more.


If, at any time, an Intern runs out of all 20 hitpoints, it is permissible to allow death. BUT, keep in mind that, since this is supposed to be a training mission for the Interns, it is perfectly okay to make them run out of energy, confine them to the C.A.R., tie them up, kidnap them, or provide another excuse as to why they are unable to be as active as the other agents. If all Interns lose their entire health meter, they fail the mission. To prevent this, remember that NPCs such as their C.A.R. can assist at any time. However, if your players enjoy higher stakes, you don’t have to nullify consequences. It is important to establish the nature of the game before playing, or monitor the players’ reactions to make sure the experience is enjoyable for all.


At the end, of the mission, the final puzzle is revealed. In the original Puzzles For The Road book that comes with this one-shot, the final challenge is to spot the differences between the front and back cover, and answer the question posed on the first page. If the party would like to circumvent the answer, create a level set for this puzzle by rolling one d20 for each member of the party. Then, all the remaining Interns must roll to exceed that set. If they are successful, they receive one last prize to assist them before facing their final obstacle determined by referencing the SUPER CHAOS METER. If they fail, roll the SUPER CHAOS METER twice!   At the end of the road trip, the Mentor will evaluate the Interns and dole out random awards. You can also choose if you would like this to all really be a test or if some or all elements were real.


The original Puzzles For The Road book was created for EnigMarch. To find more similar puzzles, check EnigMarch.com or search social media for #EnigMarch. Doing so will uncover a treasure trove of content to use.   Randomize NPCs by rolling dice to shuffle their names, traits, and roles.   Cut the amount of puzzles and pit stops down to save on time.   Have C.A.R.S. provide hints or even hindrances to keep things exciting.   If a CHAOS METER or a SUPER CHAOS METER event doesn’t make sense for the story so far, don’t be afraid to roll again or even make something up on your own. All creative freedoms are given to you.   Things can go wrong with Androids that are similar to human problems. Using the restroom or becoming car sick can translate to malfunctioning, needing to recharge, screw coming loose, oil leakage, etc. Have fun with it and don’t worry about being super-accurate to the world.   At the end, the awards do not at all have to be formal. They can be for any random thing; solving the most puzzles, fixing the most problems, fighting the most enemies, eating most food, telling most jokes, etc. You can even turn it in the other direction; least battle damage, least enthusiastic, least successful attempts etc.   If you have any other questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at WordiGirl.com


This One-Shot TTRPG Experience is designed for 2-6 players.

Feel free to use, print, play, share, or whatever have you! If you'd like to support, a pay-what-you-want item can be found in my in my Ko-Fi shop. All tips are appreciated, but snagging the game for $0 is not discouraged! Thanks for reading and checking it out.


GM's Toolbox

  Dice Bag
1d4 1d6 1d8 1d10 1d12 1d20
  Fillable Statblocks   Rewards


1. Flat Tire
2. Out of Gas
3. Overheated Engine
4. Traffic Jam
5. Animal in the Road
6. Something Important Flies out the Window
7. One of the Interns Desperately Needs to use the Restroom
8. Check Engine Signal Won't Stop Blinking, Vehicle Refuses to Move
9. Tire Blowout
10. Fender Bender
11. Forgot Something Important at Last Rest Stop
12. Vehicle Needs a Jump
13. Road Rage Incident
14. Takes Wrong Turn, Gets Lost
15. One of the Interns Gets Car Sick
16. Pulled Over by Police
17. Flash Flood/Blinding Rain
18. Carjacking Attempt
19. Railroad Crossing
20. Construction Detours
see NPCs for possible villains



1. Enemy Spy Drone Locks onto the Interns' Vehicle
2. Interns' Vehicle is Discovered to be Rigged with Bomb
3. Enemy Spy Kidnaps one of the Interns
4. Intern's Vehicle Successfully Stolen
5. Enemy Spy Vehicle in Persuit
6. One of the Interns Go Rogue
7. Enemy Spy Takes Mentor Captive
8. Arrive at Destination to Discover it has Been Taken Over by Enemy Spies
9. Interns' Vehicle Airlifted by Enemy Helicopter
10. Enemy Spy Revealed in Interns' Vehicle (hidden in trunk, floor, roof, etc.)
see NPCs for possible villains
  Playable Characters
Players can come up with any type of backstory, name, and appearance for themselves, but they must be an Introductory Intern in rank (which can also include Junior Sprouts). Overall guidelines for character creation are very loose, but magical abilities that may break this game that takes place in a real-world setting are not advised.


Story Summary

A group of Introductory Interns embark upon a road trip as a creative training exercise. In addition to solving puzzles like Someone and Constance did, they must also face several obstacles. From conquering minor annoyances such as locating a rest stop, to fixing progress-halting problems such as repairing a flat tire (all with looming threats of mission failure) will your party survive and pass the test?


Runtime: 1-2 Hours
Recommended System: There is no set system for play in such interactive story experiences, but you can use certain systems for scoring and point mechanics, character sheets, enemy levels, etc. GMs must use their best judgement when determining things the players can and cannot do for the sake of the game and the enjoyment of everyone.
Equipment: Pen/Pencil and Paper for the players to draw out their characters, keep notes, or jot down anything else that comes to mind (optional).     Standard set of seven RP dice can be utilized to help with randomization if a player would prefer not to improvise as much (supplemental dice-roll buttons embedded into the page for convenience).
Players: 2-6   Ideally, the story is best enjoyed with two to four individuals each portraying a W.I.L.L.O.W.I.S.P. Introductory Intern and a single person acting as the GM (or mentor).   One may play this as a Solo RPG, but it will be challenging to check your own answers without spoiling things for yourself. More than four can play, but it may be best that multiple people playing PORTRAY NOT MORE THAN SIX CHARACTERS in the experience. Having several Trainees to keep track of may cause confusion and make the game unenjoyable. It also may not allow for everyone to have a chance at solving puzzles.



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12 Apr, 2023 04:03

I have not made it through most of the puzzle book yet (currently at The Mythical Foretold as I take a break from my own adventure writing), but you have done a wonderful job with this.

Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
12 Apr, 2023 12:40

aww thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying. :) Much success to you with your adventure writing! <3

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