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EM Event The Crypotographic Challenge - 25th October @ 8pm UK Time

Discussion in 'UO Europa' started by EM Gotan, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. EM Gotan

    EM Gotan UO Event Moderator
    UO Event Moderator

    Nov 7, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Skaros rubbed his chin; but who could he trust? The Spymaster wasn't entirely sure his spies had been sharp enough recently. Treason and decay were everywhere! Perhaps it was time for a quick refresher course on secure communication and code breaking? Yes, an intellectual as well as a physical challenge... the Kingdom needed the very best Investigators, not just sloppy fools who wanted the coveted sashes to impress people in the bar!

    Gather at 8pm at Skaros' office; There will be a series of codes to break, and clues to return to Skaros; the first individual (or team of Individuals) to return a copy of the clues to Skaros will be immortalised in his office as an example of diligence to all future Royal Investigators.
  2. EM Gotan

    EM Gotan UO Event Moderator
    UO Event Moderator

    Nov 7, 2013
    Likes Received:
    It had been a long, long night; the Royal Investigators were exhausted. The puzzles set by Skaros, whilst eventually being broken by many in places, were too hard for all but two dedicated investigators. And even they had to resort to calling in heavy back up to get to all of the clues. One was swearing with hatred for the Spymaster towards the end, but the safety of the Kingdom is no business for the lazy and the weak... thus Skaros was unmoved by the hate.
    But the Spymaster still felt a swelling pride, and was that even a little tear in his eye he brushed away when Iljian, of the Duchy of Trinsic, and the Lady Jen stepped forward to claim their eternal fame as the first Official Cryptologists of the Kingdom?!


    As the challenge had proven so useful, Skaros decided to leave it up for a while yet, moving the clues into his own tower. You must use the four books to find the 5th and final one. For those who wish to follow those who have been before, or just wondered what the solution was, details are below.

    BOOK 1 CODE:

    sgd ehqrs bktd hr mns ezq eqnl ld
    ehmc hs vhsg sgd gdko ne zmmzadk kdd

    This code was cracked by changing each letter by +1.

    It thus became:

    "The first clue is not far from me
    Find it with the help of Annabel Lee"

    The location of the first book was with Annabel Lee in the Royal Archives. At least half the players managed to solve this pretty quickly, although few knew where Annabel Lee normally works...


    "The Book of Facets" there contained the following pages;

    1.) Felucca
    2.) Ter Mur
    3.) Ilshenar
    4.) Trammel
    5.) Malas

    As each book was found, a coherent story would emerge...

    BOOK 2 CODE:

    nk xpfwtx dtz btzqi qnpj yt uqjfxj
    lt bmjwj dj ljy itbs ts ymd psjjx

    This code was cracked by changing each letter by -5.

    It thus became:

    "if skaros you would like to please
    go where ye get down on thy knees"

    This proved amazingly hard for the players to understand. They looked in a few churches, and Empath Abbey, often repeatedly! But it was simpler than that; it was in the Shrine of Spirituality in Trammel.


    "The Book of Dungeons" there contained the following pages.

    1.) Wisp Dungeon
    2.) Britain Sewers
    3.) Destard
    4.) Blood Dungeon
    5.) Fire Dungeon
    6.) Khaldun
    7.) Ice Dungeon
    8.) Despise
    9.) Rock Dungeon
    10.) The Stygian Abyss
    11.) Ankh Dungeon
    12.) The Solen Hives
    13.) Wrong
    14.) Twisted Weald
    15.) Orc Dungeon
    16.) Shame
    17.) Sorceror's Dungeon
    18.) Ancient Citadel
    19.) Covetous
    20.) Wyrm Mountain

    So now we can try and guess its home...

    BOOK 3 CODE:

    tbxi nwi scteh dv ldc trpae nzrdg gtwidcp cx
    tbnwg sgpw zrdg hxwi vcxkadh cd tcds aatl

    This code is cracked by changing each letter by -5 again, but the resulting sentence is also reversed.

    It thus became:

    "emit yht dneps og won ecalp ykcor rehtona nI
    emyhr drah kcor siht gnivlos no enod lleW"

    Which was a bit naughty, because what you actually could usefully use was;

    "Well done on solving this rock hard rhyme
    In another rocky place now go spend thy time"

    And where might that be? Why the Rock Dungeon in Ilshenar.


    Unfortunately a Paragon spawned there not long after the book was placed, and made actually reading "The Book Of Locations" very tricky indeed. Inside were the following pages;

    1.) Near to the...
    2.) Behind the...
    3.) Is in a packhorse near to the...
    4.) On a table next too...
    5.) In the room opposite the...
    6.) In the water near to the...
    7.) In the lava near to the...
    8.) Hidden behind a curtain near to the...
    9.) Hidden inside a chest near the...
    10.) Underneath the unmade bed of the...
    11.) Is hidden behind rubble near to the...
    12.) Revealed by pulling a lever near to the...
    13.) Revealed by solving a puzzle near the...
    14.) Revealed by running up too and tickling the...
    15.) Down the stairs from the...
    16.) On the upper floor of the tower of the...
    17.) Achieved by milking furiously the...
    18.) Awarded for taming the...
    19.) Found by pick-pocketting the...
    20.) Has been forgotten to be placed near the...

    All we need now is what it's actually near, yes?

    BOOK 4 CODE:

    ujlw cglrl uqxkm fpryln uq dtdgp j lpra
    ujh qgax qcux ju tkptqk uq iawlquap fm

    This code is cracked by changing each letter incrementally, that is the first letter by 1, the second letter by 2...

    It thus became;

    "This being tough enough to crack I know
    The next part is simple, to Hythloth go"

    Interestingly, the ultimate winner of the decoding race, Iljian, decoded this book before Book 3, thus proving perhaps an interesting experiment in psychology; it seems people expect a successful decoding to be immediately obvious, rather than obscured by a simple further tweak.

    Of course, he wasn't best pleased when he realised where exactly it was! Yes, it's in that part of Hythloth!


    "The Book of Beasts" now revealed the potential targets;

    1.) Red Death
    2.) Paroxymus
    3.) The Dark Fathers
    4.) The Slasher Of Veils
    5.) The Ancient Wyrm
    6.) Lord Oaks
    7.) A Mongbat
    8.) A Balron
    9.) Dread Horn
    10.) The Succubus
    11.) Skaros The Spymaster
    12.) Navrey Nighteyes
    13.) A Cow
    14.) Medusa
    15.) The Serpentine Dragon
    16.) Exodus
    17.) An Island With It's Own Mongbat Civilisation
    18.) An Evil Mage Lord
    19.) Meraktus The Tormented
    20.) Rikktor

    Oh dear, which of those rotters would it be?!


    If you clicked on Bob The Extreme Book Reader (it's like extreme sports, only you do it sat very still) he gave the following advice;

    As ye changed the letter, turn the pages
    As ye read the code, now hold the book.
    The book of beasts is not the wisest of sages
    But the other three hint at where to look."

    This also threw people, as they'd forgotten how they decoded the books, and didn't quite make the connection from the clue to how many clicks you needed to make per book. They were;

    BOOK 1: The letter was changed by 1, thus 1 click forward to pages 2 or 3.
    2.) Ter Mur
    3.) Ilshenar

    BOOK 2: The letter was changed by 5, thus 5 clicks forward to pages 10 or 11.
    10.) The Stygian Abyss
    11.) Ankh Dungeon

    BOOK 3: The letter was changed by 5, but the code was read backwards, so 5 clicks backwards to pages 10 or 11 again.
    10.) Underneath the unmade bed of the...
    11.) Is hidden behind rubble near to the...

    BOOK 4: The letter changes in the Book of Beasts were incremental, and Bob suggests there's no way to narrow down the page with its answer then; but with the prior code we know it has to be a mob in either Ilshenar's Ankh Dungeon, or Ter Mur's Stygian Abyss', either near a bed or rubble. Whilst a few of the Beasts are indeed in the Ankh dungeon, there aren't many beds around either. And which do you think it's really going to be?

    I mean, really going to be?

    Yes, it's near to the Slasher of Veils!


    And there was one final sneaky trick; it was named "An Harpsichord Roll" to be disguised as the rubbish the Slasher leaves behind as he slaughters the local wildlife. But if you looked closely and saw it was in fact a book, you were rewarded with the following message;

    "An Harpsichord Roll,
    By Skaros The Spymaster.

    Or... perhaps not! Well done oh keen eyed Investigator, ye hath found Skaros' final book! Remember ye need 5 in total, but if this be your last, quickly copy it and return to my tower!
    Perhaps ye be the first to return and shall gain eternal fame for thy cryptological skills!
    Skaros the Spymaster."

    It took just over 4 hours to crack all the codes and find the books for Iljian and Jen. But the challenge shall remain for those who wish to see if, although they can't be the first to do so, they can at least be the fastest!
    #2 EM Gotan, Oct 26, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
    Valura likes this.
  3. Bobar

    Bobar Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    May 20, 2004
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    Congratulations to Iljian and Jen they did a hell of a job there. I have to admit it all got to be too much for me, after the first one I was completely baffled. I don't think I would have solved them all if I had stayed all night.
    Valura likes this.
  4. Valura

    Valura Journeyman
    Stratics Veteran

    May 27, 2008
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    Umm..that is pretty tricky! Not sure the combination of Saturday night, red wine and brain shredding decoding is one that I am ready for! Well done to the solvers...that really is an achievement!