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|Secret messages have been discovered in Old School RuneScape.|
This wiki page documents an ongoing puzzle hunt in Old School RuneScape, which started on 19th January 2022 during the Leagues III: Shattered Relics update.
- 1 Runestone Basalts
- 2 Tarot Cards
- 3 The Final Performance
Runestone basalts with a card on top have been found scattered across the Shattered Relics League worlds. Upon interacting with these stones they displayed a message to the player saying
"You reach for the card but it fades before you can grab it... as if pulled into another realm..." and opened up a cryptic image in the player's browser. After interacting with the basalt, the card disappears and further searches of the basalt now display a message saying
"A faint warm glow can be felt where the card once was... I wonder where it went?".
Originally upon interacting with a runestone basalt it would link to one of three images, all with a triple spiral patterned design. The first image was just the plain triple spiral pattern image. The second image contained a hidden phrase in the background with the message
keep watching keep waiting for the moment in and out of time. The third image similarly contained another hidden phrase that said
keep watching keep waiting for the moment in and out of time. Three unique basalts have been discovered near the Lighthouse, Harmony Island, and Great Kourend. The basalts originally linked to these three images, but later were all updated to have a unique puzzle for their location.
The first runestone basalt was found near the Lighthouse, north of the Barbarian Outpost. Interacting with the basalt opened up a cryptic image in the player's browser. Hidden in the background of the image were the letters
FHXSPLZLOUCUGS. The file name of the image is
jato5xu7a4. Converting the numbers in the file name to letters using A1Z26 (A=1, B=2, Z=26, etc), it becomes
jatoexugad. Using this as a key in a Vigenere cipher with the string hidden in the image as the ciphertext, it decodes to
WHEEL OF FORTUNE.
Harmony Island Puzzle
The second runestone basalt was found on Harmony Island, south of Mos Le'Harmless. Interacting with the basalt opened up a cryptic image in the player's browser. Hidden in the background of the image were the Chinese characters
暗輪鑰謎蠱籠間. By counting the amount of strokes in each character, and then converting the numbers to letters using the same technique as before, it produced the string
MOYQWVL. Once again using this string as the ciphertext, and the file name
thumbnaillarge as the key for the Vigenere cipher produced the phrase
Great Kourend Puzzle
The third and currently final runestone basalt was found in Great Kourend, in the continent of Zeah. Interacting with the basalt opened up a cryptic image in the player's browser. Hidden throughout the image were seven dark cyan pixels. These pixels could be found in the image in the following X and Y coordinates
(146, 85), (500, 100), (312, 301), (1271, 111), (1420, 500), (1122, 341), and (816, 522). Going from left to right, by adding all of the digits in the X and Y coordinates together, and once again converting these seven digits alphabetically from numbers to letters, produced the string
XJFXNLN. The file's name
5c2s0xcwug could also be decoded using the same method (with '0' recursively becoming 'Z') to get the key
ECBSZXCWUG. Finally, using the string hidden in the image as the ciphertext, and the converted file name as the key for the Vigenere cipher, produced the string
After all of the Runestone basalt puzzles were solved by the community, the images found near the Lighthouse, Harmony Island, and Great Kourend, were updated to contain the decoded phrases. As shown in the photos, players are currently on
standby for further messages. Additionally, hidden in the background of these updated images is the message
seriously just wait.
Follow the Sound of the Flowing River
On the 8th of February 2022, an update was made to the image redirect for the Lighthouse Basalt. The new image contained the clue "follow the sound of the flowing river" alongside an unusual cyan border.
Within the cyan border, a series of hidden pixels held a secret message. By isolating the blue segment of the RGB values of the pixels in the border, it could be converted to audio and analysed using a Temporal Frequency Analysis tool which gave the following sequence of letters
Additionally, playing the audio clip revealed the numbers
Decrypting each section of the border code with their respective spoken number as the key, using a Vigenere cipher, resulted in the string
ZIRGDXJMTWHBZFKL. Shifting each character one space back and employing a Vigenere cipher with a previously solved puzzle's solution,
WHEELOFFORTUNE, as the key, unveiled the location
A River Torn Apart yet Remaining as One
Alongside the previous clue, players were presented with another image featuring the phrase "a river torn apart yet remaining as one" and a cyan border resembling the previous image.
Despite initial challenges, players received a hint in their Discord voice channel via a series of Morse code signals that spelled out the word
Following a similar approach to the previous puzzle, players extracted an audio file and this time fed it through an oscilloscope. This process revealed a sequence of plotted letters and musical notes. Taking the letters displayed on the screen as the ciphertext and using the musical notes played as a key for a Vigenere cipher, players decoded the following sequence of letters:
qqqrewsnwsskafbkfwkuuhi. Once again, by shifting each letter in this sequence by one and decrypting it using the phrase
THEEVIL as the key, the second location was unveiled as
WILMINGTON NORTH CAROLINA.
Eroded by the Tooth of Time
Accompanying the previous two puzzles, players received a new image, featuring a clue in Norwegian that translated to "Eroded by the tooth of time, the language was. To the extent that the door of translation remained locked” along with a cyan border resembling the previous two images.
Once again, players found themselves stumbled by this puzzle. However, Mod Brow provided a hint, sharing the clue
FIRSTMESSAGEOFEACHTRANSMISSION=🕭103. This hint indicated that the first message of each transmission should be considered, along with a bell and the number 103.
By converting the cyan border into audio once again and utilizing a program called minimodem to simulate a Bell 103 Modem, players received a series of numbers that decoded to
LLSSPH YPREL ILPRJ UKWFM using the A1Z26 cipher.
Yet again faced with a roadblock, players were granted another clue, presented in the form of the below image:
Applying a Vigenere cipher to the aforementioned text with the key
baud, players decrypted the message, revealing the following:
in each stream hides two transmissions the first spoken by a bell rung one hundred times plus three a machine used to speak a language forgotten the second is the same but spoke at ten times the speed the first will be numbers needed as a key the second will present a vision of a lock
The previously decoded string represented the first transmission mentioned. By replaying the same audio track through the Bell 103 Modem, but at 10 times the speed, players decoded a PNG file displaying a grid of zodiac symbols.
Mapping each zodiac symbol to the corresponding letter in the Winding font (e.g., '♌︎' representing the letter 'b'), players decoded the message:
beige ahead beach cache. Once again, using the values from the first transmission as a Vigeeère key, shifting each character by one place, and applying the Vigenère key
THEFOOL, players uncovered their final location:
WELLINGTON NEW ZEALAND.
Using the Wingding image from the previous puzzle and isolating each of the RGB channels, three distinct images emerged. Each of these images corresponded to real-life locations connected to the solutions of the previous puzzles.
The first image contained an image of a stone compass. By searching for landmarks containing a compass around the three known locations, players eventually identified a match at Milton Country Park in Cambridge, England.
Looking around the general area of the compass, players stumbled upon a hidden cache housing a
Wheel of Fortune tarot card, with an incomplete QR code on the back.
The second image contained a picture of a traditional sundial that was found in Carolina Beach in North Carolina, US. Hidden in the surrounding area was another cache containing
The Evil tarot card and the subsequent portion of the QR code.
Finally, the third image contained a picture of a spherical astrolabe. Additionally, an accompanying image containing encrypted text was provided. By decoding the text using the vigenere key
THEFOOL players were given the following message:
a gift from harmony island the card waits to be found near a tool used to count shadows in the land of the long white cloud
In the background of the image were a set of coordinates to the astrolabe in the Wellington Botanic Garden, New Zealand. Hidden in a nearby bush, was the final tarot card,
The Fool, along with the concluding portion of the QR code.
Completing the QR Code
Combining the QR code segments obtained from each of the three tarot cards, it led to the link: https://osrs.game/thewheel. Upon visiting the website, players were greeted with an image telling them to "Standby for further communication".
After the Leagues III: Shattered Relics event ended medals were sent out to players that had achieved certain goals throughout the event. Alongside each of these medals was one of the three tarot cards and a slip of paper containing an encrypted message. These messages could be decrypted with a vigenere cipher with the name of the tarot card as the key. A list of the tarot cards given and their respective message for each achievement can be found below.
Following the conclusion of the Leagues III: Shattered Relics event, participants who had achieved specific milestones were rewarded with medals. Accompanying each medal was one of the three tarot cards previously mentioned, as well as a small slip of paper bearing an encrypted message. Decrypting these messages involved using a vigenere cipher, with the name of the corresponding tarot card serving as the decryption key.
The table below provides a list of the tarot cards distributed and the decrypted messages associated with each achievement:
|1st in Most League Points & 1st in Most Tasks Completed||The Wheel||Who watches the watchers|
|2nd in Most League Points & 2nd in Most Tasks Completed||The Evil||The future isn’t yours to see|
|3rd in Most League Points & 3rd in Most Tasks Completed||The Wheel||Who watches the watchers|
|1st in Most Experience Gained||The Wheel||Three of a kind|
|3rd in Most Experience Gained||The Fool||Cards of power|
|1st to Max (99 in All Skills)||The Evil||The future isn’t yours to see|
|2nd to Max (99 in All Skills)||The Evil||Soon a puzzle will be revealed|
|3rd to Max (99 in All Skills)||The Fool||Cards of power|
|1st to Unlock all Skills||The Wheel||Three of a kind|
|1st to Unlock all Bosses||The Fool||Eyes beyond our own|
|1st to Reach Tier 7||The Evil||Soon a puzzle will be revealed|
|1st to Reach Tier 7 without Hitpoints||The Fool||Eyes beyond our own|
The Final Performance
When players inquired about the completion status of the ARG, Mod Brown provided a cryptic response:
eighteen letters six messages three cards two dead tongues one final message the horseman waits
The Eighteen Letters
On January 18th, 2023, a news post was published on the Old School RuneScape website, and certain sections of the text appeared to be affected by glitches. Adding to the intrigue, the name of Mod Sarnie, one of the in-game moderators, was rotated 180 degrees in the list of mods at the bottom of the page. Clicking on Mod Sarnie's name led users to [osrs.game/worB osrs.game/worB], containing the below image:
Hidden in the background of the image was the message
thefinalperformance. Clicking on this message as a link ([osrs.game/thefinalperformance osrs.game/thefinalperformance]) redirected users to the image
The image contained a repeating list of the English alphabet. Hidden in the background, at the top right, was a crescent moon. Notably, certain letters of the alphabet were missing from the image. By collecting these missing letters, players obtained their next link, [osrs.game/ripddw osrs.game/ripddw], which led to the image
stars.png displayed below:
By adjusting the image, players revealed a series of constellations composed of stars. Overlaying these constellations onto the list of letters, with the crescent moon as a guide, unveiled a sequence of different letters:
wyrotg. Notably, the second constellation in the image featured dashed lines increasing in quantity from 1 to 5. Combining the letters derived from this combination, players received the link [osrs.game/yvohjr osrs.game/yvohjr], which led to the image
In the text provided, there is an alternating switch between English and Latin. By translating each line to the opposite language, the following message is obtained:
legere luna lucrum ludum linum Yawning yesterday the yellow yard of the young man falsa fenestra est firma festinatio byb fortuna Just kidding just joined the journey mare, maritus in mensa magna I am again, I am sometimes the sixth, what am I?
By identifying the letter used in the alliteration on each line, players obtained their next link, [osrs.game/lyfjmy osrs.game/lyfjmy], which led to the image
your audience is pleased with your Efforts your work is nearly done whiLst mine continues on at the Intersection of the timeless moment all that remains is for a horseman To hear the call these Eighteen characters will be your final test until we speak again, somewhere, nowhere, everywhere...
By extracting the capital letters from the text, players discovered the word
ELITE. As indicated by the name of the image, this signifies the conclusion of the chain of links, with 'ELITE' not being a valid link or leading to further content.
The Dead Tongues
Simultaneously, Mod Sarnie's Twitter account was compromised, and a series of images containing glitched messages in Winding was posted.
The Wingding in the first message was decoded to
Three steps, Eighteen characters, Two dead languages, Three codes. The second message revealed the decryption
Warp the letters, Self contained, Destinations discovered. The third message disclosed
I have enough left for one more set of clues they will surely help but first you must ask. Finally, the fourth message, written in Latin, translated to:
tempus, ventis, crepusculum duodeviginti characteres clavis, sem, electi
When translated from Latin to English, it reads as follows:
time, winds, twilight eighteen characters key, salad, elite
Using the 18 characters utilized in the chain of URLs from the previous stage,
ripddwyvohjrlyfjmy, and decrypting it with a Vigenere cipher using the key
eighteencharacters, and subsequently decrypting it with ROT18, resulted in the Latin phrase
viresacquiriteundo. As mentioned in the previous clues, alongside Latin, another dead language was required to solve the puzzle. Converting the Latin phrase into Leetspeak yielded
Finally, as stated in the clues, players needed to seek out
The Horseman to finish the final puzzle.
By interacting with the in-game character Diango in Draynor Village, somewhat infamously known for selling toy horses, players were able to redeem the code and receive their very own set of Mystic Cards to wield as weapons within the game.