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Somewhere in a magical land a small golden chest is delivered by an white eagle to a soon-to-be heroine. She opens it with shaky hands, knowing what it means that this gift has been delivered to her. Indeed, the first thing which falls out is a parchment bound and sealed by her mentor. The letter reads:

The Letter

( Full Resolution Letter )

The chest also contains a map and 22 small scrolls, each listing a wisdom spell written by the mage in his runes.

The treasure map

( Full Resolution Map )


The 22 spell scrolls

( Full Resolution Spells )


With just this, can you locate where the holy nut could be found?

The position can be found on the map. Use the following grid to specify the coordinates: Solution-Grid


Comments & Hints

  • This puzzle (in slightly different form) was 'solved' by an unintended short-cut (now closed), but is still requiring a 'proper' solution. You might find it by backward-solving it form the now known solution, but there is more fun in not doing so. (I hope.)

A hint:

- The lake and the compass both hold a clue...

A full eye-opener hint (strong spoiler!) added after the full solution has been posted:

The map overlaid with a hex grid (spoiler!)

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice puzzle! The full resolution pictures are there because we must find hidden clues in them? (aka steganography) $\endgroup$ – leoll2 May 4 '15 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ @leoll2 no, not necessarily. I did not want to have huge images in the post but neither did I want crapy images which might make it harder to solve. I recommend using the full res images whenever you have an idea, but you do not need to look at binary data in this puzzle. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 4 '15 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ Did you make this puzzle only after seeing Alconja's similar one, or is it just coincidence? If the former, I'm impressed at how quickly you knocked it together! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 4 '15 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ "a taunting task" - is that a clue or should it be "daunting task"? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 10 '15 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ @randal'thor thx, yes it was a mistake... $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 12 '15 at 21:06
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I believe the full explanation is as follows...

We need to visit the 8 X marks around the map, but need to "end [our] trip in the dark forest" and avoid the witches tower, so we'll start on the lower left and proceed clockwise around the road.

Multiple hints point towards hexagonal tiling: The six pointed star, "honey, she still rules", seven minus one mages, the lake (looks like 4 hexes stacked), the compass on a 60 degree tilt, etc.

So if we draw a 60 degree grid over everything (using the lake as a guide for spacing), we get the following (I've labelled, in blue, all the features that appear in the spells in order from A to V):

grid and labels

You can now see that for each X we need to visit, there's a feature that has three copies that all triangulate on the given location. I've labelled these, in green, in the order in which we visit them.

Now, if we take these 8 spells in the order travelled, we end up with the following list (which is where Dennis Meng's solution picks up):

spells

From here, reading down the columns produces the text:

From the dead tree in the swamp, go South. Halfway to Mount Dragon, stop. Where you cross the road is the Holy Nut.

So, taking the dead tree in the swamp (assuming the swamp is indicated by the reed looking icons), we have roughly Ed (the lone P on my labelled map) and Mount Dragon (assuming it's the biggest, most foreboding mountain) at roughly Ak, you can see a clean "South" line based on the hex grid, which cuts the road at the bottom right of the Cg grid square, as indicated by the big yellow X on the labelled map. And so, here lies the Holy Nut!

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  • $\begingroup$ Exactly as intended. When doing the puzzle, I've drawn the hex-grid around features rather than through their centre, but that's just optics. (I'll upload my own images soon and link them in this comment.) $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 20 '15 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ "Hex-grid" clues: 1) 7-1=6 mages ( "..in all directions" ) 2) honey(bee) ( after using darling for all others) 3) German witch ( = HEXe ) 4) "cast her net" (HEX - net/grid) $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 20 '15 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ Other clues: "..still rules" & "look close & far" & "all directions" & "guide you" ==> Basically one can use a ruler to draw 6 straight lines (as with the compass for north) through all six locations and then check which "icons" one crosses. As Alconja pointed out: Each X is associated with exactly 3 "unique" items, which give the spell. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 20 '15 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ A "cleaner" version of the map with hex. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 20 '15 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ You two treasure hunt experts are just brilliant :-D $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor May 20 '15 at 23:19
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Partial answer here, though I'm not entirely sure how hard the rest is supposed to be. Putting spoiler tags on for now.

If you take 8 of the 22 spells and shuffle them around, you get this: enter image description here Reading down each column, you get the message:

From the dead tree in the swamp, go south. Halfway to Mount Dragon, stop. Where you cross the road is the holy nut.

The rest so far is taken from @MisterEman22's answer (for completeness), with minor changes.

The dark point on the compass signifies North, so going south would be counterclockwise about 30 degrees from directly down. There are 3 dead trees on the map at: (B,e), around (P,p), and (C,q). The only one that is inside a swampy area is the one at (B,e). The others are on "normal" land. If you go south from there, it would take us to a mountain at (A,h). halfway to that point is a jut in the road, and when crossed you are in the space (B,g), which is the final location.

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Thus, the only remaining part of the full solution that is missing is how to properly deduce that these are the correct 8 spells, and in the right order. Although @BmyGuest has stated in the comments that the above partial solution is correct, a full solution is able to deduce how to get to where my partial solution begins. I got here via a shortcut that you could find in an earlier version of the puzzle with slightly different wording in the title and letter, and as stated explicitly by @BmyGuest (and implicitly via the edits), a "proper" solution does not use said shortcut.

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    $\begingroup$ @leoll2 Semi-random attempts; I figured that "holy nut" would be in there somewhere, so that narrows down the search space. $\endgroup$ – Dennis Meng May 5 '15 at 6:26
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    $\begingroup$ @DennisMeng Looking for holy nut is very smart! Congratulations! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 May 5 '15 at 6:32
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    $\begingroup$ @DennisMeng You get bonus points for cracking it this way. Congratulations. A nice shortcut, the actual puzzle is to find the 8 spells. Clearly I did not safeguard it enough which made it too easy :c(. The text is correct (and the solution to be found by just looking closely at the map with some not-too-strict interpretation). I will, however, accept an answer which explains how one arrives at these 8 spells from the initial puzzle and not by around-to-corner hacking. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 5 '15 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ BTW, I was somewhat expecting somebody would crack it by brute-force but I didn't anticipate one can do without computer-help. The (un)holy nut was a clear mistake ;c) $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 5 '15 at 7:06
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    $\begingroup$ I have now 'fixed' the puzzle (-for people wanting to use it elsewhere-) by changing the letter and title. Of course, this doesn't invalidate this already found answer (and one can still back-engineer it from here), but I'm still searching for the "proper" answer ;c). @DennisMeng Maybe you want to reflect that I've made those changes in your answer-posting? $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 19 '15 at 8:05
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Using the clue that Dennis Meng got, the treasure is at:

(B,g)

Explanation:

The dark point on the compass signifies North, so going south would be counterclockwise about 30 degrees from directly down. There are 3 dead trees on the map at: (B,e), around (P,p), and (C,q). The only one that is inside a swampy area is the one at (B,e). The others are on "normal" land. If you go south from there, it would take us to a mountain at (A,h). halfway to that point is a jut in the road, and when crossed you are in the space (B,g)

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for putting the "final" (correct) spot in here to complete the first answer. However, I'll set the question "accepted" to the first full answer explaining how one can get to the correct "spells" (and order) without the reverse-engineering employed by Dennis Meng. (Nothing wrong with his answer though. It's good to see people work around things too!) $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 14 '15 at 16:06

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