Dungeons & Dragons alternate reality game's next clue was found inside a series of Yelp reviews.
Last week, we reported on an ongoing alternate reality game (ARG) involving Dungeons & Dragons, Twitter, and an ongoing series of clues that seem to be tied to D&D's next publication. After D&D's Twitter account was briefly taken over by a mysterious ally of the wizard Elminster (a well-known character in D&D lore), fans learned of a new "quest" involving a stone of power and its guardian, who had been sent to Earth by Elminster with his memory erased.
Fans found two Twitter accounts, @Immortal4tress and @Glovers_Travels, which provided additional clues about the story. Additionally, fans also found a Yelp account belonging to Adam Glover (the guardian of the stone fans were looking for) which had posted reviews for a number of game stores. A password was hidden within Each game store review: the name of a location within Dungeons & Dragons. The first person to visit those game stores and give them the password would be given a package....or at least that's how the game was supposed to work.
Unfortunately, the collective power of the Internet figured out the passwords and dispatched players to each of the game stores before the packages arrived. However, by Saturday, three of the ten game stores had received their packages and passed them off to players. Each package contained a different "key" (actually a USB drive) which contained a different word written in unknown runes.
As of press time, here's the three sets of runes players have received:
Each set of runes translates to a different D&D creature, namely "tarrasque," "lizardfolk," and "aurumvorax." And while we're still waiting on the rest of keys/runes to appear, we do have an idea as to their importance...thanks to a new message discovered in additional Yelp reviews posted over the weekend.
Glover posted a second set of reviews on Yelp, each of which were for different bars and/or restaraunts that D&D fans might enjoy. Unlike the game stores, fans weren't supposed to visit the bars, but rather figure out a message hidden in the reviews themselves.
This puzzle was a bit trickier to figure out, even with players of the ARG organizing on Facebook and a Discord server. Once the reviews were all posted, both the @Glovers_Travels and @Immortal4tress accounts tweeted clues as to how dicepher this new puzzle:
Another scroll from Elminster may help us in our search: "That which you need’s not written in the stars; count on the aid of friends to help you out. If you look to the place of all the bars you’ll find the answer there without a doubt.”— Immortal Fortress (@Immortal4tress) May 6, 2018
Okay, all of the reviews from the notebook are posted! And I found something scrawled in the margin: "Each place is so great, it was difficult to figure out the ratings."— Glover's Travels (@Glovers_Travels) May 5, 2018
I just found another peculiar piece of marginalia in the notebook in my handwriting! "If something isn't adding up, you can count on someone figuring it out." #NoStoneUnturned— Glover's Travels (@Glovers_Travels) May 6, 2018
It took a solid day to figure out that the key was tied to ratings representing the price, quality of drink, and relative safety in each reviews. In order to crack the code, players needed to add up those three ratings with the "dollar sign" ratings at the top of the Yelp review. Players then counted the words in each review and pulled out the word corresponding to the ratings total, which spelled out a new message.
The message from the second Yelp review reads "Place second creature as code key, then you start your ABC (the words "a, "be," and" see.")
We're still waiting to discover the importance of the new message, but it's likely that its the key to solving an unrevealed keyword cipher, a type of puzzle that can be cracked by using a keyword to determine a letter substitution code. Basically, to crack the code, players list the alphabet from A-Z, and then write the keyword underneath the first letters of the alphabet. Once you run out of letters in the keyword, you simply start listing the unused letters (beginning with A) after the keyword.
For instance, here's what a keyword cipher would look like using the word "DRAGONS" as a keyword:
Using that cipher, the word "dungeons" would become "GUJSOKJQ."0comments
We're still waiting on the other runes to arrive, so that we know exactly which creature is the keyword. We also haven't found out what the cipher is yet, but I'm guessing that will appear once all ten set of runes make their way onto the Internet.
It's not too late to join in on this real world Dungeons & Dragons adventure. Players can follow the #nostoneunturned hashtag or follow @Immortal4tress and @Glovers_travels. If you want to get on the puzzle-solving action, Team Volo (the unofficial name for the group spearheading the puzzle-solving action) can be found on Discord here.