Kingdom of Loathing
Kingdom of Loathing is a browser-based, multiplayer role-playing game designed and operated by Asymmetric Publications, LLC. It exists since 02 Nov 2003 and has a long history of weird secret in-game and partially out-of-game puzzles.
The Sigil was added on 03 Oct 2014 as a part of the October 2014 item-of-the-month content drop.
The game's puzzle has stayed unbeaten from the discovery on 24 Jan 2016 to 26 Jul 2016, when User:DukeBG figured it out.
The sigil can be seen in the Conspiracy Island content, by going into The Secret Government Laboratory adventure zone. There, as the first adventure of the zone, the player encounters a weird door (image filename weirddoor.gif) in See What's on the Slab.
The monsters in the zone have a limitation on the amount of item drops for a player per day (10), so the information about them was intended to be gathered by the community over time. Each monster has a common potion/food drop, a rare equipment drop and a special drop that has to be activated by using A Mysterious Control Panel on the Conspiracy Island. Additionally there is one extra special drop that is activated there and drops from all the four monsters of the zone.
- Common drops: delicious candy, experimental serum G-9, limp broccoli, ice-cold Cloaca Zero
- Rare equipment drops: jangly bracelet, heavy-duty clipboard, giant yellow hat, first-aid pouch
- Unlockable drops: cuddly teddy bear, battery-powered drill, monkey barf, khaki duffel bag
- Extra unlockable drop: airborne mutagen
Monster Manual drops (added after the 03.10.2014 release): nursery rhyme, grimy lab coat, iron torso box. Bounty-Hunter's drop (added after the 03.10.2014 release): vivisected hair.
As it's possible to notice, these drops (excluding the extra ones added later) have different first letters. In fact, their first letters fully form the set of letters from A to M. If you order them alphabetically and extract the last letters from the list, you get nlry9htdotgif. This refers to the puzzle piece nlry9ht.gif on the image server.
Over the time the sigil was unsolved, people have written in with questions to the podcast about the game that KoL devs are making. The developers acknowledged the existence of the overall ARG and gave very minor hints:
- The puzzle can be solved without a one-day pass, i.e. without access to the adventuring zone at all;
- Everything needed to solve came into existence with the initial content drop;
- There is something to notice about a certain list of things;
- The puzzle was unintentionally confounded by something added later and they should have thought of that at the time;
- The puzzle somehow relates to something Jick (main dev) often complains about.
The relevant snippents of the podcasts are available below:
- 2016-02-21 http://duke.a-comics.ru/dump/kol-arg-podcast_20160221.mp3
- 2016-04-07 http://duke.a-comics.ru/dump/kol-arg-podcast_20160407.mp3
- 2016-06-23 http://duke.a-comics.ru/dump/kol-arg-podcast_20160623.mp3
A day before the puzzle was solved Discord user TheSparrowHunter contacted Jick by email, clarifying things, including asking if the images were involved in the puzzle and received an answer "no".