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Last night you were enjoying a drink in the tavern. While keeping to yourself, you overheard the following conversation behind you:

Man 1: ... but how are we ever going to afford that?

Man 2: You've heard tales of the legendary treasure inside the mountain? Well it's all true! Once we get it, we'll be set for life.

Man 1: That's crazy talk. Countless adventurers have tried and failed. What makes us any better than them?

Man 2: The difference is that I know the secrets to get in. It all starts in this very town. You see, the town itself is the map.

Man 1: That doesn't even make sense. How can a town be a map?

Man 2: Look, read it like this and number the sections like so, then it's clear where to go!

Man 1: I think you've had too much to drink, this is all just nonsense.

Man 2: Listen, we can go somewhere more private and I'll fill you in on all the details. Just trust me on this.

Man 1: Alright, I've got nothing to lose but time. I still think we're chasing a fairy tale, though.

Intrigued by this conversation, you began searching for clues on this treasure. Figuring your best bet is to determine how the town is a key, you obtained a map of the town.

Town Map

Hint 1:

Written on the back of the map is the message, "Everything is not always as it seems."

Hint 2:

Asking around, you discover a few interesting bits about the town. For example, it was created in 1026 AD, and the person credited with founding the town was a Mr. Francis B.

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  • $\begingroup$ Typos are unintentional and I'm open to feedback. $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Apr 24 '17 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ Braille is obvious, but can't make anything out of it. Surely involves more than that. $\endgroup$ – Mordechai Apr 24 '17 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure this is a metapuzzle? $\endgroup$ – n_plum Apr 24 '17 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ @n_palum I believe it to be. $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Apr 24 '17 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidStarkey yeah the braille is obvious, but having taught myself to read, I can see immediately that it is nonsense except for the odd letter here and there. Although the line 'read it like this and number it like so' makes me think we need to read it upside down or something $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 24 '17 at 18:10
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Continuing from where Doguita left off, I have decoded all of the messages in the adventure game.


Here is a map of the text adventure game.

enter image description here

The areas marked in red are all enciphered: it seems that typing anything into the "answer" box and moving deciphers all area descriptions in Vigenere using that key.

(Of course, if it's not the correct key, it'll still be gibberish.)

Expansive Plain

The numbers given by the troll in Highland Bridge can be indexed into the description of Eddied Stream to give the letters B, I, N, G, O. That answer decrypts Expansive Plain:

enter image description here

Red Forest, Rounded Wood, Inner Forest, and Nice Cabin

The previous hint refers to the periodic table and entering elements into a 3x3 grid... somehow. (I notice that placing the elements in a 3x3 grid clockwise lets Li, Cl, and B overlap with their stated positions, though it doesn't explain K in the middle.)

The key for the next cipher is HFCLVNP (obtained through statistical analysis). It can be divided into elements as H-F-Cl-V-N-P; Cl-V could be changed to C-Lv, and N-P could be changed to Np.

enter image description here
enter image description here
enter image description here
enter image description here

Grencidep Mountain

The four names (reading clockwise starting from the top left and going right) are NOK, IMA, O.C., and ED. Reversing and concatenating those gives KONAMI CODE, a famous cheat code.

The four people also told you how to substitute directions for letters. Doing that to the Konami code gives UUDDLRLRBAS, the key for Grencidep Mountain.

enter image description here

Final Message

Caesar-shifting the three answers (BINGOHFCLVNPUUDDLRLRBAS) by the framed numbers gives IMAGINARY INTERNET POINTS, the final treasure.


Some Thoughts

Over all, this didn't really seem metapuzzle-y to me. I guess it could be considered a metapuzzle (arguably), but just applying a bunch of Caesar shifts is... underwhelming, to say the least.

The unused information also irked me. Information that was unused:

  • the Dark River text
  • the location titles
  • the fact that "Grencidep" is an anagram of "preceding" (and meaningless, when the rest besides Ruklo Town are logically named)
  • the number 1026 and reference to Francis Bacon in hint 2
  • the map layout

Oh, and I wasn't entirely happy with in-story text (the numbers, said by a character) being related to out-of-story text (the Eddied Stream description, which presumably doesn't exist "in-universe").

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I couldn't finish it so I am posting a partial answer:

If you treat each group of 6 blocks as binary, left to right, top to bottom(blocks with a house as 1) and considering the blocks with a circle as a . and the block with a diagonal passage as a / you get:
000010 000001 010100 001111 010000 001000 001111 000010 001001 000001 . 000111 001001 010100 001000 010101 000010 . 001001 001111 / 010000 010101 011010 011010 001100 000101

In decimal:
2 1 20 15 16 8 15 2 9 1 . 7 9 20 8 21 2 . 9 15 / 16 21 26 26 12 5

Using A1Z26:
batophobia.github.io/puzzle

It is like those classic text games but with ciphers!
Now I am stuck at Highland Bridge and the troll.
Perhaps another adventurer follow my path and find the next step.

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OP addition to Deusovi's answer

The only section that was unsolved is the Expansive Plain, so allow me to answer that.

Start with a 3x3 grid and put the elements in their places

+---+---+---+
| Li| | B |
+---+---+---+
| | K | |
+---+---+---+
| Cl| | |
+---+---+---+

Next, switch them with their periodic numbers

+---+---+---+
| 3 | | 5 |
+---+---+---+
| | 19| |
+---+---+---+
| 17| | |
+---+---+---+

Next is to fill in the empty spaces, which can be done by determining the number added to move to the next cell.

+---+---+---+
| 3 | 4 | 5 | +1
+---+---+---+
| 10| 19| 28| +9
+---+---+---+
| 17| 34| 51| +17
+---+---+---+
| +7 +15 +23

Now we can convert the outer numbers back to elements

+---+---+---+
| 3 | 4 | 5 | H
+---+---+---+
| 10| 19| 28| F
+---+---+---+
| 17| 34| 51| CL
+---+---+---+
| N P V

Using the clue at the end of the text

"The key is clockwise..."

Gives us the key

HFCLVNP

Answers to @Deusovi's thoughts

  • Dark River text

Try using the same process used on the Dark River...

  • the location titles

Take the first letter from each location. See what you can make from that. It's almost in order in the javascript.

  • the fact that "Grencidep" is an anagram of "preceding"

Simple clue to say you should use the answers from the preceding puzzles as opposed to trying to solve something new

  • the number 1026 and reference to Francis Bacon in hint 2

1 0 26 hinted at binary representations of 26 elements, Bacon also hints at "a system whereby letters of the alphabet could be reduced to sequences of binary digits"

  • the map layout

Debated on making this more involved, but didn't end up using it. One idea was to make it a sort of Easter Egg to the classic Zelda dungeons, but that's a lot of rooms, meaning a lot of puzzles. Plus, I was hoping to avoid multiple directions after a puzzle, since the key decoding would get confusing (i.e. solve, then E goes to one puzzle and W to a different one).

Ended up deciding to use the location names and the number of locations was made to fit with that. Plus, I had a few of the puzzles ready that were too small to be stand-alone, and I didn't want to put too much more time into making more puzzles when I wasn't 100% sure on how well it would be received. I mean, it does use a github link, which I wasn't sure was accepted since they aren't reliable to remain unchanged.

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