Hi there. I've been lurking in these parts (and /r/gamedetectives) for a while, so… well, I thought it might be fun to let you solve these puzzles I've been working on. I don't think they're particularly difficult, but the end goal is very important to something that I've been researching. I can explain more once you get there. Up for it? Let’s go. WNDDNqTB
This was shortly followed by a message from @inreality#1054 on the GameDetectives Discord's #arg-general channel:
https://www.reddit.com/r/arg/comments/4q3e3l/_/ Hi there! I've been lurking for a while and I thought that you detectives could help me with something I've been researching. As such, I've constructed a series of puzzles - a test - for you to attempt. I will explain more if you make it to the end. Start with the reddit post I've linked above.
Discord user CURIOUS CHILDREN spotted the italics in the reddit post, which spelt "pastebin", leading to the next clue.
The paste was created on 2016-06-12, along with all known parts of the ARG (except the trailhead).
Well done. But that wasn't really that difficult, was it? Let's try something harder… Did yOUr mINd kNow THIngs WhiCh FloAt aWAy are a tONe aWAy tO An iSlAnD ThAT SeE to KinGs . tWEN Ty iS nOT good I wANt adD twOMoR shIFtS
This was eventually solved to be Morse Code, revealing this:
Solving this as a rot4 cipher led to the next clue:
The Twitter account was named Sophie and had one tweet:
Let's get weirder (3): Count them… https://t.co/ptQqmBPsJg lbzw://b.gzohv.gws/LF9O8RR.crk
Discord user Concerned Hobbit bruteforced the code as a Vigenere cipher (ultimately using the key
eightynine) to reveal this:
Not a hard puzzle (4) The number you need is here already, but double it. You are looking for another page here… bto9rDUins0pifh.vyPweuSiGW6TvFCmKpB7P2JgSY0ssVVuCiazvg6rru EgZg5.k90AX4nc1PCYiXoioX6L.FmhxVgaCb2IUhG0hQekPv6aQ3riJE9Q p4MngN4ABEbIzCTDAUHqPZCCxHwjQBJstH.zjETO0Kipr9D13osnPRqICR MgLoEvs79IvE68Qkd.uUAYs3E95ThOa0Cl88nIeACm0TqJEp7eG1PVHve4 3L3oOvxeROROGW8xE6naM1zgvDHyHarDjaUQbT59cIO7IQ91RiXwX2pSpH
The inreality Discord user gave two hints relating to this clue:
I love skipping.
(hinting that the clue was a skip cipher)
the dots are probably a part of the cipher
Two further hints were later given:
I'm afraid I have to leave for now, but I'll say that automation may not be helping you.
(warning users to solve the puzzle manually)
I checked through the puzzle and I am sorry to say that I have in fact made an error. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. 8888888887888888888898
Eventually, it was solved by Discord user carnifex as a skip cipher; every eigth letter was part of the URL, except the tenth letter, which was seven letters after the previous one.
A hard puzzle (5) Pcnna tyh tfkhawrg tnk sghaf 'dl zyg. mhng://uomkjpce.hcg/Jhv4pxJq
The bottom URL was solved by Discord user Concerned Hobbit as a Vigenere with the key "four".
If you thought those first five were easy, you'll like this. If you thought they were hard, scream and run. Pf l=1 fjd x=26, poek hved yde dbywk thrllnana hhu yw tz? /i/2AtpLwPh
Discord user offbeatwitch solved the second paragraph as a Vigenere with the key "halfwaythere":
If a=1 and z=26, what does the first paragraph add up to?
Discord users Crauss, Emoticon, Concerned Hobbit, picapi, and offbeatwitch solved the third paragraph as a Vigenere using the key "onethousandandeightyone":
The reddit user had one post, in /r/test, and the user's username was solved by Discord users Crauss, upsidedownportal, and Concerned Hobbit to be a Pastebin URL.
This next clue will take you somewhere covered in… red. WwXNbJtuitYpXSICeTgLxnaafmsV V*m*aa**LgT*C*SXpY*iu*Jb**w*
The 2nd string was a reversed version of the first, but missing the characters "WXNttIexnfs."
The missing characters from (8) led to a Youtube video showing a strawberry with changing dots. The dots were found to be a morse string (small dot = ., large dot = -) by discord user offbeatwitch that converted to "IN7FM1NK."
Uhegnbxlcylbfno! Zsl'mc xbeahmc drbw bk! Sk, xlp rpw rfu dfvv? Ncde, khasi’j rl… guaeyu xyrr A gvez gsi r pwlvandl gimbxtt. Pii gimtevm et, M trl'l zvt pp mk. Pmm'kv nku xyv dakjt csslg rg lflrf tlqxdxj leli kyckx. Z hwwi kf ksdv sqsi kyyl rfu'nf yg km lav twto, pfs kxv. I ybr'k askm krqtx rew geu lku xf um lazs. Wmxyfsya, sy lbwk vvhxiiaogv, vtwg khet qzxfl gft xf iefsya. Poq tiv, kfw ersp msk wmjfvd w dlrzl lh xep ulzj mtcvcp gvfd mfx glwdi kf yfhkhas. Lfncnxi, ojf trir gy kha dlrzl fxmen tlfncv ng. Tdfc alql wzswqtvrpww wrkn iozqlxeca. Ts Z ugkurnzfh kyc uarij bru jrskkez ulzj fmgk fks wfdc ehie dfpg. Kfw hsjadx zj amkiejupp cmutkez iiiv: 526306901299639 yfw Z nafh pfs lh xep jx kf fwkv, wdfvv Z'tw higwomjvb s vfnpbgk km hbtk eu yg rdlxi ykv'zv xml bk tdfvv: 52632258812946072 Kpq mf pqu mk sczbed piek icxkvsdniek qlted, ks nljr oavrawii dycxj ykv pffi lav labwk ncaku! I sjwy pmm elcg. Bru gjwtje zpr'k dckl khet yg resbe. I'hm fv rzdx ko pbov jmex huatxzflk he tdbx Knglmvr wdgflll, up tdf arp. Qgiyia
Discord user Crauss decoded it with the key "strawberry."
Congratulations! You've finally made it! So, why are you here? Well, there’s an… object that I need for a research project. The problem is, I can't get to it. You're not the first group to solve puzzles like these. I have to make sure that you're up to the task, you see. I can't just trust any old lot to do this. Although, by past experience, even this might not be enough. You see, the last lot formed a chain to get this object from one place to another. However, one part of the chain never showed up. They just disappeared from existence. So I disbanded the chain and started this hunt for some more help. The object is currently located here: 526306901299639 and I need you to get it to here, where I've organised a contact to pick it up after you've got it there: 52632258812946072 Try to put it behind that refreshment stand, or just wherever makes you look the least weird! I wish you luck. And please don't mess this up again. I'll be able to take some questions on that Twitter account, by the way. Sophie
After many failed attempts and a change in location, the object was eventually retrieved by Discord user whizzer0:
The front of the box read:
IMPORTANT OBJECT CONTAINED CAREFUL
On the back was a scrawled message:
SCREW YOU, SOPHIE! LOVE FROM SIMON
Inside was a rock with no other apparent significance.
After the object was delivered and received by Sophie, she experimented on it, recording what happened on Twitter:
It's glowing now. Taking it out carefully… I'll leave it a while to cool.
It should be safe now.
Ouch! Still hot
oh gd help me
i can see where what
is that? i have a daugmtjr?
i can't see here now
Following this, Sophie stopped replying to tweets. She refused to reveal what the object or its significance was, claiming that her research was confidential. Sophie's fate is currently unknown.
In Reality returns?
See the next Part.