In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, by now you probably know that there’s currently an alternate reality game (ARG) for Dungeons & Dragons. If this is a surprise, and I’ve already lost you, then all you need to know is this: the D&D team over at Wizards of the Coast have devised an elaborate puzzle for their fans to solve.
Last week, on May 3rd, the official social media channels were briefly ‘taken over’ by the archmage of dubious fame, Elminster Aumar of Faerûn (referring to himself as the Old Sage), in order to convey a message to we of Earth: a great artifact was hidden here to remain secret. Unfortunately, that secrecy has been undone, and now it must be retrieved. The Old Sage of Shadowdale cannot come himself (probably too busy playing the part of the eminence gris for the entire Forgotten Realms), and so he has reached out to us. Challenging clues have been hidden in Yelp reviews under the name of one Adam Glover, a very close anagram to ‘Volo Geddarm’, his affable yet troublesome former apprentice and the author of the celebrated Volo’s Guide series. Only by solving these clues can the location of the artifact be determined.
Of course, the community is loving this. The finest of our minds have gathered to apply their skills at code-cracking, and it’s been remarkable to witness (and contribute to) some of the revelations that have emerged from the dialogue. And what a remarkable puzzle we’ve had the privilege to crack. The puzzle has so many pieces and layers that we’ve scarcely solved one riddle by the time another piece is released.
First, a series of Faerûnian place names were discovered in the reviews of various hobby shops across North America. Upon speaking the name of the place at the appropriate location, a package was provided that included a sequence of strange sigils. The first sigil to be uploaded to #NoStoneUnturned set the community ablaze:
Fortune was on our side that such a conspicuous first sequence was the first to be uploaded, as it was a remarkably complex word (a double letter at 3rd and 4th position flanked by another double letter at 2nd and 5th position!) which significantly narrowed down the possibilities and allowed for a solid start to our alphabet. It also gave us a strong clue for what the other words might be. Sure enough, as the other sigils trickled in, they all proved to be famous D&D monsters: aurumvorax, cyclops, drider, gargoyle, giant centipede, lizardfolk, mimic, and ochre jelly.
Nine sigils have so far been recovered, but there are reviews for ten hobby shops. Where is the last one? Well, actually, in my home city, at a wonderful store called A Muse N Games. Or, at least, it was supposed to be last week. Unfortunately, Canadian customs had snagged the package at the border, and it was delayed. With more clues being released every day, including one which said that “the second monster is the key”, the wait has proven to be all we can bear. For the past three days, I have arrived at the store the moment they opened and waited until the mail had been delivered. When it finally arrived today, I practically snagged it out of the poor guy’s hands.
And now, after much anticipation, I will reveal the final sigil.
With this sigil, the set is complete, but the mystery is not yet solved. More clues are being revealed, and we still have work to do. Which is the second monster (probably cyclops if we go alphabetically), and why is it the key? What does this mean? You can be a part of the solution! Click here to come help us solve this mystery on the dedicated Discord server!