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OblivAeRG: A Recap of the Reality

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scifantasy
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OblivAeRG: A Recap of the Reality

Hi all! I'm new to the forums here and reasonably new to Sentinels of the Multiverse, having gotten into the game (well, more substantially than the occasional game in a convention game room) through Handelabra's rather fantastic Android implementation over the last month or two. I live in NYC, so I do a lot of gaming on the subway--going through all of the backlogged Weekly One-Shots and all of the achievements was ideal.

When I heard about the Oblivaeon ARG from last year, I was fascinated--I love puzzles. With this one complete, I went looking for a summary, and all due respect to the Sentinels Wiki, I found it a little...incomplete. So I went to the "Whose Tim Cosing? thread--and I took notes.

Which became something of a chronicle.

And in a few places, it points out aspects that are still unsolved, because Peter Hayward has apparently had Real Life get in the way of the blog he was planning to do recapping the ARG.

So I figured, why not share it?

 

Notes

Terminology

When a new page is identified, I will give the full link; all other times (mostly after the page is identified, but occasionally before) I will refer to a page by its nine-character code.

Credit

I will attempt to give credit where it is due to the player who discovered a particular solution first, with allowances if several people make a discovery simultaneously.

The Rulebook

The Villains of the Multiverse rulebook (herein, the "Rulebook") was a major source of clues and content for the ARG. A scan of the Rulebook was posted by dpt:

http://pages.iu.edu/~dpthurst/tmp/villains-rulebook.pdf

arenson9 would be the first to notice that each page from 1-9 was associated with a color, as seen in the page numbers of the Rulebook:

1: Yellow
2: Blue
3: Pink
4: Orange
5: Red
6: Brown
7: Gray
8: White
9: Green

(Herein, the "Rulebook Code.")

Attention should also be paid to the first page of the rulebook, and the shading of the crossed-out word "Sentinels" as well as the Greater Than Games logo in the bottom right, which has only four pips instead of the usual five. Both of these facts were identified by tindiyen during various parts of the hunt, but their significance would not be identified until the final puzzle.

 

Cover 1: Genocidal

There were a couple of places where the ARG could be said to "start." Kratos13 accidentally stumbled on the "Intervene" clue, for example (which led to a tweeted callout, "Too quick, K"). But the true trigger was the creation of the "Whose Tim Cosing?" thread, which became the central solving area of the ARG.

Posted by CornCakes (later revealed to be Peter C. Hayward, the designer of the ARG), the message simply pointed out that "Tim Cosing" appears in the Rulebook's acknowledgements section nine times.

Matchstickman immediately saw the anagram of "It's Coming."

(Note: There seem to have been two intended methods to solve this puzzle.

One was to see that the colors of the villain biographies in the end of the Rulebook were ordered according to the Rulebook Code to produce 716453289. jorcbrow got this during the lead up to oddallies.

The other method was to count the number of names that appeared between each "Tim Cosing" in the playtester acknowledgements, again getting 716453289. much0gust0 figured this one out during the "Break time" before bethegate.

Either way, if you assign the letters in TIMCOSING values 123456789, rearranging them according to the order 716453289 produces ITSCOMING. Unfortunately it wasn't a very complicated anagram, so this clue was jumped over for a while.)

Comrade Bubbles found Tim Cosing's Twitter account, and Powerhound_2000 posted that the QR code Tim had for a usericon leads to:

https://greaterthangames.com/replaceme

With some prodding from Tim, including his tweet "Replace me," dpt took that "replaceme" part literally, and found:

https://greaterthangames.com/itscoming

With the help from another couple of clues from Tim (including "Flavor text," which was an error--ten letters), grysqrl found that the text on itscoming was made up of selections of the flavor text on nine specific cards:

Gruum
Endless Possibilities
Negative Energy Field
Oblivion
Chronological Hotspot
Indomitable Force
Demoralization
Apocalypse
Lambent Reaper

(This got "Well done, G" from Tim.)

arenson9 also noticed that the source code for itscoming had the code 124185 embedded in it. This would be held in reserve for a while.

Chogb001 was the one who saw that reading the first letter of each card led to the first cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/genocidal

 

Cover 2: Harbinger

The fact that all (except the error) of Tim Cosing's tweets had been nine characters, not to mention all of the code phrases, primed the players to seek out nine-character strings. The most obvious was the one below the barcode on genocidal, which DocBrown found:

https://greaterthangames.com/982354617

This is, of course, also the reverse of the 716453289 code that had not actually been discovered yet.

The 982354617 comic's references to "three times as many," the Mega-Computer, and Megalopolis were enough to hook in the already-discovered, but not yet understood, "Intervene" clue, as Donner specifically called out. See here for a picture:

https://greaterthangames.com/forum/topic/intervene-8225

Following The Wraith's directive to "look at the screens...start at the top, left to right," the players, including VisforYoshiChogb011, and Julia, identified the nine cards on the Mega-Computer screens as, in order:

Scion of Blight
"Diplomatic" Envoy
Beginning of the End
Eye on the Prize
Retcon
Between the Lines
Don't Dismiss Anything
Fixed Point
Reveal the Flaws

With Bunker's "Flavor Chips" in hand, the players knew to focus on the flavor text of each card, as Julia outlined. mackcrockett applied the Rulebook Code, taking the encoded letter of each flavor text. If a given screen was pink, for example, they took the third letter of the flavor text of the card shown on that screen.

The nine letters thus identified spelled formofthe, and mackcrockett recognized that this was the start of a specific Progeny card: Form of the Harbinger, and thus identified the second cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/harbinger

(Note: It does not appear that the coloring of the letters of the word "Intervene" in intervene was ever fully understood. Hayward's comment is that "it's not an additional key - it was actually intended to point towards the eventual solution of that image."

Though DerpTheBugbear would, during "Break Time," identify the 716453289 Rulebook-biography clue and suggest it was connected to "Intervene," the actual "Intervene" solution is, to Your Humble Chronicler's knowledge, not established.

UPDATE: April 19, 2017, 2000 EDT: As you see below, this post spurred a new interest in solving the unsolved puzzles. In the process it was discovered that the "Intervene" puzzle was in fact unsolvable! The intent of the puzzle had been to demonstrate the relationship between Rulebook Code color and position of a character in a given flavor text, but due to a juxtaposition in notes, the flavor text Hayward believed was on Mega-Computer was in fact on Micro-Targeting Computer.

Reading that flavor text, the solution is obvious: I is brown meaning 6, N is gray (7), T is green (9), E is yellow (1), R is orange (4), V is blue (2)...and those numbers are the positions of those letters in that flavor text.

Yr. Hmbl. believes that had the flavor text been matched properly, this puzzle might have been solved at this time and shown as further proof that mackcrockett was on the right track. At the same time, it's possible that because the connection between flavor text and Rulebook Code position was clear, it might have been skipped over. If so, it almost certainly would have been discovered during "Break Time.")

 

Cover 3: Odd Allies

While there were a few false starts here, VisforYoshi noticed that the first paragraph of harbinger had an acrostic reading "BASE EIGHT." Tim's tweet, "Checkouts," focused the players" attention on the barcode of harbinger, which DerpTheBugbear scanned to reveal 71645328--the code, less the 9. DerpTheBugbear and bretttwo both saw that converting 71645328 to base eight produced:

https://greaterthangames.com/421234220

The reference in 421234220 to "the now-classic Freedom Four Annual #1" led players to check https://greaterthangames.com/downloads, where Comrade Bubbles first clearly identified that there are nine different versions of that comic linked (the "[PDF icon] Freedom 4 #1.pdf" link is actually nine different links). Each link had the form: https://greaterthangames.com/system/files/downloads/X.pdf (where X is a number from 1-9).

The only differences were the time on the clock when Tachyon's alarm goes off on page 16, and a letter on the drill behind Legacy on page 18, identified by bretttwo and dpt respectively:

1: 8:53, R
2: 7:08, A
3: 9:20, I
4: 6:00, L
5: 5:40, F
6: 7:08, E
7: 6:10, N
8: 6:00, C
9: 7:52, E

bretttwo saw that the nine clock positions, if imagined in their analog positions and read as semaphore, would produce the sequence OLSDALEDI (though there were also several other possibilities based on the edge cases of certain semaphore readings). When the players saw what a Rail Fence Cipher (the nine letters) is, bretttwo applied the one to the other:

O       L       S
  D   A   L   E
   D       I

This led to the third cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/oddallies

 

Cover 4: Omnitron-U

The players started with the same clues that had gotten them to oddalliesjagarciao saw that the acrostic in the first paragraph was LEETSPEAK, and DerpTheBugbear scanned the barcode to 804RD64M3--which is, of course, leet-speak for "Boardgame."

(Incidentally, it was at this time that racingstripe, somehow, stumbled upon the Morse code video that was intended for a later clue, despite the video being unlisted on YouTube. Tim Cosing's tweet, "Tut tut tut," likely referred to this sequence break, and it would have repercussions later.)

Next, tyches_coin noticed that 126951, just above the oddallies barcode, is the BoardGameGeek code for the Ambuscade mini-expansion:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/126951/sentinels-multiverse-ambuscade-villain-character

BlueHairedMeerkat noticed that the other part of that, 633000, is "Geek": 6 for G, 3 for E, and the 000 means multiplied by 1,000, which is K (as in, "kilo"). Thus, the whole barcode area becomes "Boardgame Geek 126951."

DerpTheBugbear then found that the 124185 clue from itscoming also meant BGG, as that's the code for Unity's mini-expansion:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/124185/sentinels-multiverse-unity-hero-character

(At this time, BlueHairedMeerkat and dpt posted their summaries of the events of the ARG to date.)

Sameer next found that the 421234220 page also had a number in a comment, namely 134393--which is the BGG page for the Eternal Haka promo card:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/134393/sentinels-multiverse-eternal-haka-promo-card

TheCraftyCurler poined out that the last letters of the first paragraph of the oddallies story spelled out HEALTHPTS, and kitmehsu noticed that the replaceme page also had a number, One Two Six Nine Four Nine (126949), leading to Cosmic Omnitron's BGG page:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/126949/sentinels-multiverse-cosmic-omnitron-villain-promo

That was enough for BlueHairedMeerkat and kitmehsu to see that the HP of the four identified characters, listed in the order of their pages, produced:

https://greaterthangames.com/100263350

Comrade Bubbles first noticed that the hovertext on that image is "uif," and Chromium_Man found that Augustus's Code is a simple substitution cipher, where each letter is advanced by one--thus, "uif" is "the," as BlueHairedMeerkat saw.

While MrLeRobot identified the relationship between the bots and their HP, it took another Tim tweet, "Bookstore," for Chromium_Man to suggest that the thirteen symbols-to-numbers should be looked as as an ISBN, which he identified as T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland." Chromium_Man and BlueHairedMeerkat simultaneously applied an Augustus cipher to the nine-letter "Wasteland" and found:

https://greaterthangames.com/xbtufmboe

wyken09 broke the animated gif into 25 images, and grysqrl realized there was one image from a card for each letter of the alphabet except for U. The large number of Omnitron images led grysqrl to make the leap to the fourth cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/omnitronu

(The true method of solving this puzzle was supposed to be to realize that the animation wasn't consistent. Some images appeared for a short time, some for a longer time. If one mapped the shorts and longs as Morse code, one would produce the code OMNITRWN, due to an error in design--as Tim would later tweet, "W's almost U." This solution was first suggested by wyken09 and positively identified by ludkubo during the "Break Time" before bethegate.)

 

Cover 5: Time v. Time

Unfortunately for Tim and the GTG crew, the barcode on omnitronu turned out to be a royal pain, leading to Tim tweeting "Scan again" and "Reloading." Finally, though, Julia managed to scan the barcode and identify it as "bitly1QupVMD," or, as Comrade Bubbles saw,

https://bitly.com/1QupVMD

That redirects to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexadecimal, the Wikipedia page for Hexidecimal notation. Hardly a shock that as Powerhound_2000 first stated (though dedilus was close), the text below the omnitronu barcode, "232D2D2D," was readable as hex.

Foote did the conversion and identified the code as #---, which Trajectorkitmehsu, and Foote speculated pointed to the importance of issue numbers. Trajector identified three cards in the text of omnitronu: Prophetic Vision, Take Down, and Twisting Back Alleys.

RySmith6 realized this referred to the issue numbers of those three cards. 201 (Prophetic Vision), 128 (Take Down), and 190 (Twisting Back Alleys doesn't have a number itself, but it refers to the Wraith's Combat Stance card, which does). This led to:

https://greaterthangames.com/201128190

Besides confirming the dreams of the all the Wrunker 'shippers ("Braithes"?), the page, as Von_Raptor and cokeandsympathy were the first to recognize, has the three bolded phrases all bearing the initials "MP," and therefore "mp3" was relevant. It was grysqrl who linked to:

https://greaterthangames.com/201128190.mp3

Comrade Bubbles was the first to say that the audio sounded altered, but a lot of other people, including Trajector, Von_Raptor, and MrFettucine, simultaneously recognized that the audio was clips from the Sentinels video game--not just reversed, but also sped up or slowed down. Naturally, it was (correctly) assumed that there were nine distinct sounds.

grysqrl first specifically identified the second and fifth sounds as files related to the Insula Primalis and Iron Legacy decks, Pgrammens added Tomb of Anubis as 1 and Megalopolis as 3. Malchodit heard that 5 was Voss's theme, 8 was the Matriarch's theme, Trajector named 4 as Enclave of the Endless, and grysqrl made the obvious leap (to the point that nobody has ever seemed to bother figuring out the last two sound clips) from TIMEV_IM_ to the fifth cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/timevtime

 

Cover 6: Ft. Adamant

Julia decoded the barcode on timevtime into "urihgmrmv," but that and "urmzomrmv" needed another Tim tweet (987654321). TheSoundOfTrees is the one who first suggested a reversed-alphabet code (an "Atbash cipher," as it's called), and that gave brettwo the idea to Atbash decode the phrases into "firstnine" and "finalnine."

The first and last nine words of the timevtime story are "Five years...in seconds." bobbertoriley wouldn't be fooled again, and used a converter to calculate 157,784,760 seconds:

https://greaterthangames.com/157784760

Foote was the first to look at the source code for 157784760, and also the first to paste the odd text in comments in HTML into Notepad and mess with the word wrapping to find the ASCII art. (Foote did it by trial and error, but Hayward would later say the correct line length was 128 characters, as indicated by "Character introduced in #128.") This led to the sixth cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/ftadamant

 

Cover 7: Be the Gate

When the Morse code video first identified during omnitronu went live at this point, there was an attempt to leapfrog over finding how to get there; that said, it didn't take long for carnilius to note that the word TIMELINES at the bottom contained the following seven color codes in font tags, in this order: 063118 061079 121107 100106 122110 101085 052056

GeekInsight lived up to their name, and noted that the first letter of each sentence on the first paragraph of the ftadamant story spelled out ASCII CODE. Converting the color codes in TIMELINES from ASCII to text yielded "?v=OykdjzneU48"

(brettwo noticed at the same time that the barcode for ftadamant yielded fifteen numbers, which weren't listed, but I suspect were 099 111 108 111 114--the ASCII codes for the letters "color." As in, "look at the colors of the TIMELINES word.")

At any rate, quelle surprise, that's the YouTube ID for the Morse video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OykdjzneU48

(The title of that video is Morse code for M O R S E C O D E. Of course it is.)

This is where the evil happened. The Morse code is recursive: the code is a series of the words DOT, DASH, and SLASH, which can themselves be decoded in Morse to another layer of DOT/DASH/SLASH, which finally decode to nine digits:

https://greaterthangames.com/918273645

This was yet another recursively-encoded Morse sequence, which eventually decoded to PLAYLISTS.

Tim Cosing's YouTube account has one playlist, which contains one video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVzwYSRnBsQ&list=PLKYaqQYhlmcHvG2cBAU485BdwBxdzPXqE

The creator of that video, "Tim Nunpesh," is an anagram of "Punishment," the title of the video is "A GOOD TIME," and the 81 minutes (81 being 9 squared) of runtime were much more the former than the latter. It's commonly believed this was a combination of the cost paid for sequence breaking, and also an attempt to stall so GTG could finish the rest of the comics for the ARG.

It worked...for about an hour and a half. When elgioioso.alex89 posted a large chunk of the Morse code that decoded through repeated encodings to 1397, Brettonia appears to have brute-forced the rest (knowing that digits wouldn't repeat) and found:

https://greaterthangames.com/139724865

This is around when Tim tweeted "Break time," so while it's not there anymore, the forum reactions indicate that 139724865 originally said "Be patient."

While the break was ongoing, Tim pointed out some of the still-unsolved clues, including:

Intervene? (As in, "what does Intervene in intervene mean?" Unsolvable, see above.)
Sound file? ("What are the two other sounds in the 201128190 file?" Still unsolved.)
Animation? (Refers to the xbtufmboe clue and the Morse code in the gif animation. ludkubo pieced it together to get OMNITRWN.)
Name order? (Refers to the repetition of "Tim Cosing" in the playtester acknowledgements and their decoding into 716453289 that leads to itscomingmuch0gust0 got it.)

After about twelve hours, Tim tweeted "Who's Ready?" and 139724865 went live.

DerpTheBugbear saw the bonus puzzle in the source code, which we'll come back to.

But first, the riddle.

The first two lines say that the "middle" of the riddle is three letters, the "final" part is four, and by implication, the "first" part is two--and more importantly, the first part the riddle will discuss is the "middle."

Take nothing, then square it, then square it once more, and still you'll have nothing--why add him to four?

Absolute Zero: 0 squared is still 0, as is 0 squared squared, and the question was, why add Absolute Zero to the Freedom Four (to get the Freedom Five)?

The start of his power is simple, concise. (And common--in fact, I have said it now twice.) Let's move past the middle (Ah - there's number four)

Base AZ's power is Thermodynamics, which starts with "the." So the middle three letters of the riddle are "the." WalkingTarget got that first.

[A]nd hope that no obstacle blocks off the door. The daughter, the old man, the mishap, and Faye

This is the Dark Watch (Expatriette, Mr. Fixer, Setback, and NightMist) with Setback likely as the "obstacle."

The power to make bad things go away. Be careful to take it from only the end

"The power to make bad things go away" is Setback's card Mitigate--the last four letters of which are, of course, "gate." SunsetShadow was the first to say that.

And the start? It opened this riddle, my friend

The first two letters of the riddle are "Be." And MrFettucine figured that out, and combined it with the rest, to get the seventh cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/bethegate

 

Now, about that bonus riddle:

Ah; looking for more? I like it, new foe.
For nothing comes easy, or how would we grow?

Frippery, it seems.

My first is in Flay, but never in normal.

A lot of people were distracted by the F in Flay, but apparently--and I don't believe this was ever fully explained when grysqrl got it--this refers to the J in "Major."

My second's in you (if we're being informal).

The Ps from Legacy's name, Paul Parsons--never explicitly made because grysqrl made a leap of logic.

My third is in most words - three times in your base.

E, which appears three times in Freedom Tower, as identified by FreedomGunfire.

And my last's in the past and a place out in space.

grysqrl identified these as Silver Gulch, 1883, and Wagner Mars Base, and figured the G was the common element.

The timeline is broken; before you go mend it
Take the fruits of your labor and simply append it.

As in, add "jpeg" to the end of "bethegate" to get this bonus image:

https://greaterthangames.com/bethegate.jpeg

 

Cover 8: End of Days

With a lot of people distracted by the bonus riddle, the "D E F G" at the start of bethegate (it was just the Harpy looking through an encyclopedia, flavor only), the source code (Google Analytics code can look like clue code) and the like, the players needed Tim's "Square dot" tweet to focus back on the main thread.

Julia had already ID'd the barcode of bethegate as "causation," as well as the "space" and "time" below same.

jorcbrow saw that some of the periods in the bethegate text were square, but it was VikenXetred who identified the nine words following the square dots:

D
I'd
HIC
Cool
Gotta
Sounds
Cherubs
Unstable
Toxicants

nyrens and VikenXetred together looked at the final letter of each word to get DDCLASSES (nyrens got most of it but missed the D at the start, figuring it for a "."), which got everybody thinking D&D classes until Tim tweeted "Librarian." (The fact that the lengths of the keywords went in order from 1-9 was not lost on anyone either.)

Chromium_Man was the first to say the words "Dewey Decimal," barely beating out SirGropesAtrascnranger, and Tindiyen, but FierstArter is the one who combined the Dewey Decimal classes for Causation (122), Space (114), and Time (115) into:

https://greaterthangames.com/122114115

DerpTheBugbear noticed that the filename of the image was T26252731.jpg, and nyrens was the first to key to the word "Sidekick" in the comic to conclude the next step was to set up a scenario in the Sentinels of the Mutiverse Sidekick app, based on the scene in the comic.

The one who spelled it out most completely first was carnilius: set up a game with Super Scientific Tachyon, Termi-Nation Unity, Termi-Nation Bunker, Termi-Nation Absolute Zero, and Redeemer Fanatic versus Progeny in Freedom Tower, basically recreating the comic page in the app. broccoli correctly argued to put the heroes in the order suggested by the filename (T for Tachyon, the other four were listed by HP: Tachyon, Bunker, AZ, Unity, Fanatic), but it took Tim's next tweet, "Take Notes," for Donner to check the notes fields in the app for each character card.

All of the notes fields had...well, I admit, I'm not 100% sure. Either names of elements, atomic numbers of elements, or symbols for elements. Everybody agreed they were elements and that's how they were treated--correctly, as it turns out. (Samwise stated that Tachyon, at least, had atomic numbers, "60839169," so I suspect all of them had numeric strings, but everybody agreed they were atomic numbers so fast that they were all treated as elements from that point out.)

Progeny had A Sodium Roentgenium Americium, which if you change to the atomic symbols, was "A Na Rg Am," which was quickly decoded into "ANAGRAM."
Tachyon had Neodymiun, Oxygen, Yttrium, Sulfur, Fluorine, or Nd O Y S F.
Bunker had Boron, Nitrogen, Boron, Gallium, Arsenic, Gallium, Thallium, Bismuth.
AZ had Selenium, Bromine, Xenon, Radon, Ununseptium, Livermorium, Selenium.
Unity had Chromium, Manganese, Ruthenium, Osmium, Bohrium, Seaborgium, Chromium.
Fanatic had Meitnerium, Rhodium, Nickel, Silver, Roentenium, Gold, Iridium.

It was dprcooke who pointed out that if you connected the non-Tachyon heroes' elements like a connect-the-dots puzzle, you got E, D, D, and A, but grysqrl is the one who anagrammed EDDA with the NOYSF from Tachyon's capitalized letters to get the eighth cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/endofdays

 

Cover 9: Scion's Aid

Up front, this point marks the first time the words "sign language" were used--broccoli saw the L that Ra was making. The significance didn't hit until later.

With "First" and the barcode decoding to "Last," RySmith6 saw "VIDEO GAME" as the first and last words of the text on endofdays as Tim tweeted "Arrow time," and then "new colors." Matchstickman pointed out that the "Community" ad on the video game's splash screen has the "Intervene" image again, this time with, ahem, new colors. broccoli saw that "arrow" referred to the arrows that scroll through the various splash screens in the video game just as grysqrlblitz20688, and arenson9 did the decoding:

https://greaterthangames.com/112233445

It was grysqrl again who first spoke of a plus in the lower lefnt, and sirkevington saw the 3 in the lower right, but dedlius put them together, adding 3 to each number:

https://greaterthangames.com/445566778

TeslaRoyale first said "these look like names," and identified Tachyon, Ra, and the Visionary's aliases to fit the second set of white, second set of yellow, and solitary set of brown X's. WalkingTarget added Legacy's alias for the first set of white, dedlius added the Wraith's , WalkingTarget got the six-letter name as Fanatic's, and grysqrl listed all nine of the core heroes' aliases (except Tempest--see below) with their color corresponding to a Rulebook Code number:

Paul Parsons (white, 8), Tyler Vance (green, 9), Maia Mongomery (pink, 3), Ryan Frost (grey, 7), Helena (red, 5)
Vanessa Long (brown, 6), Aata Wakarewarewa (orange, 4), Dr. Meredith Stinson (white, 8), Dr. Blake Washington (yellow, 1)

However, it was RySmith6, narrowly beating out wyken09 and catwhowalksbyhimself, who took the letter in that number's position ("Paul Parsons" in white, meaning 8, means to take the eighth letter, in that case S, and so on) to get the ninth cover:

https://greaterthangames.com/scionsaid

(Hayward would reveal in the wrap-up that there was a missing bit in that puzzle: in the source code, there should have been, and later was, a tenth name, corresponding to M'kk Dall'ton, in blue--so, character 2, the apostrophe. And of course, it occurred to make the words clearly "Scion's Aid," not "Scion Said.")

 

Conclusion: Oblivaeon

 According to Tim, it was "Not the end," so HeroComplex saw that all of the sentences in the first paragraph of scionsaid were either four or five letters, giving:

https://greaterthangames.com/444455555

As TheSoundOfTrees first pointed out, with the title of the page being page/cover, and the two images being first/last...the community was starting to go a little apophenic, seeking meaning everywhere.

Tim's tweet "Hands Talk" paid off the sign language, and HeroComplex identified that there's one ASL letter on each page. They spell, of course, SENTINELS.

MrLeRobot suggested that the use of shadows and non-shadowed objects in the first/last images on 444455555 might have something to do with the shadowed and un-shadowed letters in the Rulebook. But grysqrl took it home, teasing everybody with "I got it, writing it up now," before...well, I'll let grysqrl repeat the message that got the "Nice work, G" tweet:

9x9 grid of covers, plus the letters from the sign language (that grid helped, Estelindis!)

GENOCIDAL S
HARBINGER E
ODDALLIES N
OMNITRONU T
TIMEVTIME I
FTADAMANT N
BETHEGATE E
ENDOFDAYS L
SCIONSAID S

Is the letter shadowed on the first page?

GENOCIDAL S N
HARBINGER E N
ODDALLIES N Y
OMNITRONU T N
TIMEVTIME I Y
FTADAMANT N Y
BETHEGATE E Y
ENDOFDAYS L N
SCIONSAID S Y

If shadowed, use the 5th letter; if not, use the 4th letter (from pips on the dice of first page/back cover)

GENOCIDAL S N
HARBINGER E N
ODDALLIES N Y
OMNITRONU T N
TIMEVTIME I Y
FTADAMANT N Y
BETHEGATE E Y
ENDOFDAYS L N
SCIONSAID S Y

http://greaterthangames.com/oblivaeon

 

Postscript: Unsolved Puzzles

By Hayward's estimation, at the end there were only four points that nobody spotted--two of which got explained in that wrapup post, the 128-character ftadamant reference and the scionsaid M'kk Dall'ton name element.

The remaining puzzles, then, are the meaning of the colored letters in the word "Intervene" in intervene, and the last two sound clips in 201128190.

And that's that!

 

Hope you enjoyed reading this. I certainly enjoyed writing it all up.

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Welcome to the forums and thanks for the summary.   To be honest I didn't realize there were still unsolved pieces.  


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If it hasn't been done, can a Mod please sticky this thread somewhere?

@scifantasy: Welcome. I like you already. Stay awhile.

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Bravo! I love this write-up!

Well done following all of that. Whew!


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Welcome to the forums! Nice to see another New Yorker, I agree by the way, the subway is an excellent place to play Sentinels!

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This rocks.

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Great write-up, thanks and welcome.

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Wow


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

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I still want to write up the blog post! Running my own game company has, indeed, sucked up more time than I expected it to.

I'll try to work out an INTERVENE hint that doesn't give the whole thing away. Stay tuned! ;)


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Welcome to the forums! Nice writeup - it was lots of fun to read through it all again.

There was one point missing from the Odd Allies page - the right-most letters of each line in the first paragraph spell out "health pts", which is what clued to using the HP of each encoded character. I'm not sure if that ever got mentioned in the thread, but that might be helpful for someone trying to follow along.

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grysqrl wrote:
There was one point missing from the Odd Allies page - the right-most letters of each line in the first paragraph spell out "health pts", which is what clued to using the HP of each encoded character. I'm not sure if that ever got mentioned in the thread, but that might be helpful for someone trying to follow along.

 

Oh hey! And yeah, it looks like TheCraftyCurler spotted the acrostic, which probably helped BlueHairedMeerkat get to that page. I'll add that in.

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Will that appear here, or on your own blog someplace?

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The wiki would be a great place for this! Plus we can see the edits, there (while we might not, here)...


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I've been meaning to get a new wiki update of this. Its a big project, so... I hope you don't mind, I stole yours (gave you full credit!) to put on the wiki as a MUCH better write up than what we had before. 

 

still need some people to transcript the stories onto the wiki, but that can wait.


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lynkfox wrote:

I've been meaning to get a new wiki update of this. Its a big project, so... I hope you don't mind, I stole yours (gave you full credit!) to put on the wiki as a MUCH better write up than what we had before.  still need some people to transcript the stories onto the wiki, but that can wait.

 

And here I was going to reply "I'm all for putting this on the wiki, but I'm not interested in reformatting it." So--thanks!

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And LynkFox, can we make this easier to access on the Wiki. they only way I found to get there is just searching for it.

 

And welcome Scifantasy. I too have been playing more on the app than in person. It has been harder to get people over to play my favorite game every single week.


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Wow! Great to be reminded, and to see just how many people contributed. It was hard to force myself to sleep.

As you can probably guess from the URL, that's not a great place to leave the rulebook scan. Can it be uploaded all a file upload the wiki?

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Yes, it can. I'll work on that tonight


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Hey, is anyone else interested in figuring out the T and E from the timeVtime mp3? I'm going to work on the E once I listen to the Letters Page because I'm no good with scrambled voices

 


" Ever had those days where you have amazing luck,
everything goes right, and you feel like the king of the world...
....And then you wake up?"
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Lord Flash Fire wrote:

Hey, is anyone else interested in figuring out the T and E from the timeVtime mp3? I'm going to work on the E once I listen to the Letters Page because I'm no good with scrambled voices 

 

Well, to make things easier, here's the link to the reversed mp3 that wyken09 posted. https://www.dropbox.com/s/mmlo8qx4gedkm08/201128190reverse.mp4?dl=0

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speedyolrac wrote:
And LynkFox, can we make this easier to access on the Wiki. they only way I found to get there is just searching for it.

Redesigning our Main Page for better navigation is on my To-Do list.

(Most wikis' main pages lead off with a brief introductory blurb and then lots of neatly organized navigation links, while ours leads off with a sea of introductory text that links to external sites and then beneath that has only six basic nav links. I once redesigned the main page of another fanwiki that had a similar problem.)


"If life gives you lemons, make a lemon cannon."

Not always the best at social skills; I apologize in advance. I don't apologize for any corny and morbid jokes, though.

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Reading through this reminded me how awesome this event was. I was literally sticked to my computer, rulebook in hands, trying (and failing...!) to decipher the clues and being amazed at the amount of story unfolding. Thanks for the summary, very well done!


MrLeRobot...

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I pretty much gave up trying to help after pointing out that the screens in the intervention screenshot were different colours, mainly because I couldn't keep up and had to work during the event.

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INTERVENE CLUE: One card's flavor text was never examined.


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scifantasy wrote:

 

Lord Flash Fire wrote:
Hey, is anyone else interested in figuring out the T and E from the timeVtime mp3? I'm going to work on the E once I listen to the Letters Page because I'm no good with scrambled voices 

 

 Well, to make things easier, here's the link to the reversed mp3 that wyken09 posted. https://www.dropbox.com/s/mmlo8qx4gedkm08/201128190reverse.mp4?dl=0

Awesome! For the missing E, at the end (or beginning in the real thing) says after some still high-pitched gibberish: "Hey! Where's my..." and trails off. Any flavor texts with that?


" Ever had those days where you have amazing luck,
everything goes right, and you feel like the king of the world...
....And then you wake up?"
-Someone special, 2012

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Well: 

  • Scion of Blight: "Damn! *KOFF KOFF* We gotta take this thing out before it kills everyone!"

-Expatriette, Freedom Five #763

  • "Diplomatic" Envoy

"We have got to work on Aminia's communication skills…"
-Tachyon, Administrative Assassin #4

 

  • Beginning of the end: 

"We're too late. It's already in Megalopolis. And I don't think we can stop it." -The Wraith, Freedom Five #767

  • Eye on the Prize: "You may take this moment to reconsider. I'll give you that much."

-Chrono-Ranger, Draw!

  • Retcon: "Good point, my friend and fellow hero The Wraith! We are a good team!"
    - Guise, The Best Book! #1
  • Between the Lines: "Good! Now, five centimetres to the left...perfect. Hit it." Parse, Freedom Five #607
  • Don't Dismiss Anything: "What I want to find is the truth. What are you looking for?"
    -The Scholar, Emigrant's Song #2
  • Fixed point: "This event must occur in every reality across time," Omnitron-X posited. The Visionary just hung her head. Not one Vanessa Long could be safe.
  • Reveal the Flaws: "There! Run to the center! It's now or never!" Parse, Freedom Five Annual #29

 

We also have the references that "The Child is the Center."

 

(Note: I'm beginning to really hate someof the lack-of-control to text formatting here.)

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Is it to do with the fact that the centre image on the top row is progeny?

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PeterCHayward wrote:

INTERVENE CLUE: One card's flavor text was never examined.

OK. Hmm...what about the flavor text on Mega-Computer itself?

"All the human knowledge and computation power joined in one machine..." --Tachyon, Freedom Five Annual #51

We know the intervene clue's answer will "point towards the eventual solution," which is to say, HARBINGER. But it won't actually be HARBINGER.

I'll noodle on this...

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Also of note: The letters of INTERVENE are on different heights. Looks like there are three or four different ones--and there are four lines of text on the Mega-Computer's flavor text. Hmm:

"All the human knowledge
and computation power joined
in one machine..."
-Tachyon, Freedom Five Annual #51

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Just a note Mega Computer flavor text issue is Freedom Five # 5 not 51


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
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...not on my phone app, it isn't.

Oh, there's the apophenia! Clue or just weirdness?

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Just weirdness.   It's something I've reported to Handelabra and apparently is now the longest standing bug


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
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Ah, thank you. Still, I can't help but think that the key is in the Mega-Computer's flavor text.

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Hahaha well...that'd explain it!

For most of the ARG, I was working from this doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F-4drbJyXUWxFg_EzzBsrprzPciAtRdZ...

I had my full copy of Sentinels (and used it from time to time for art-based things) but for most of the stuff that relied on specific words and flavor text, I was using that doc.

As I was, I accidentally got Micro Targeting Computer and Mega Computer's flavor texts mixed up. No one solved it because it was an unsolvable clue! Sorry, all.

(If you look at Micro Targeting Computer's flavor text instead, you'll see the key I was talking about.)


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Flavor text from Micro Targetting Computer

Quote:

"Every instrument is designed to combat crime and snare its perpetrators."
-The Wraith, Mystery Comics #214


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
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And now it's clear: I is brown (6), N is gray (7), T is green (9), E is yellow (1), R is orange (4), V is blue (2): they are the positions of those letters per the Rulebook Code in that flavor text.

I'll update the chronicle here and on the WIki.

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Well, I updated it here, but I don't have a Sentinels Wiki account--maybe later.

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Can you add a post with the update since edits don't always show up?


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Sure. This appears at the end of Cover 2: Harbinger...

 

UPDATE: April 19, 2017, 2000 EDT: As you see below, this post spurred a new interest in solving the unsolved puzzles. In the process it was discovered that the "Intervene" puzzle was in fact unsolvable! The intent of the puzzle had been to demonstrate the relationship between Rulebook Code color and position of a character in a given flavor text, but due to a juxtaposition in notes, the flavor text Hayward believed was on Mega-Computer was in fact on Micro-Targeting Computer.

Reading that flavor text, the solution is obvious: I is brown meaning 6, N is gray (7), T is green (9), E is yellow (1), R is orange (4), V is blue (2)...and those numbers are the positions of those letters in that flavor text.

Yr. Hmbl. believes that had the flavor text been matched properly, this puzzle might have been solved at this time and shown as further proof that mackcrockett was on the right track. At the same time, it's possible that because the connection between flavor text and Rulebook Code position was clear, it might have been skipped over. If so, it almost certainly would have been discovered during "Break Time."

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This write-up is fantastic, and reminded me how awesome the game was! Thanks for reliving some good times.

I'll say it again, grysqrl deserves "MVP!"

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scifantasy - PM me or Powerhound your email address and an a name you want for your account and we'll get you set up with one. Sorry, spammers have been making it hard to keep it open account creation. All you'll have to do is log in and make an edit within 24 hours and you'll be good to go.


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PeterCHayward wrote:

Hahaha well...that'd explain it!For most of the ARG, I was working from this doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F-4drbJyXUWxFg_EzzBsrprzPciAtRdZ... had my full copy of Sentinels (and used it from time to time for art-based things) but for most of the stuff that relied on specific words and flavor text, I was using that doc.As I was, I accidentally got Micro Targeting Computer and Mega Computer's flavor texts mixed up. No one solved it because it was an unsolvable clue! Sorry, all.(If you look at Micro Targeting Computer's flavor text instead, you'll see the key I was talking about.)

So, so cool to see this as a worthwhile reference.

Christopher & Adam, if you guys haven't been publicly thanked before for sanctioning its existence & letting it come out of the shadows, please accept thanks now.

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jffdougan wrote:

 

PeterCHayward wrote:
Hahaha well...that'd explain it!For most of the ARG, I was working from this doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F-4drbJyXUWxFg_EzzBsrprzPciAtRdZ... had my full copy of Sentinels (and used it from time to time for art-based things) but for most of the stuff that relied on specific words and flavor text, I was using that doc.As I was, I accidentally got Micro Targeting Computer and Mega Computer's flavor texts mixed up. No one solved it because it was an unsolvable clue! Sorry, all.(If you look at Micro Targeting Computer's flavor text instead, you'll see the key I was talking about.)

 

So, so cool to see this as a worthwhile reference.Christopher & Adam, if you guys haven't been publicly thanked before for sanctioning its existence & letting it come out of the shadows, please accept thanks now.

I'd like to thank PeterCHayward for showing me this doc again. I had been looking for it for a while.


" Ever had those days where you have amazing luck,
everything goes right, and you feel like the king of the world...
....And then you wake up?"
-Someone special, 2012

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Lord Flash Fire wrote:

jffdougan wrote:

 PeterCHayward wrote:
Hahaha well...that'd explain it!For most of the ARG, I was working from this doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F-4drbJyXUWxFg_EzzBsrprzPciAtRdZ... had my full copy of Sentinels (and used it from time to time for art-based things) but for most of the stuff that relied on specific words and flavor text, I was using that doc.As I was, I accidentally got Micro Targeting Computer and Mega Computer's flavor texts mixed up. No one solved it because it was an unsolvable clue! Sorry, all.(If you look at Micro Targeting Computer's flavor text instead, you'll see the key I was talking about.) 

So, so cool to see this as a worthwhile reference.Christopher & Adam, if you guys haven't been publicly thanked before for sanctioning its existence & letting it come out of the shadows, please accept thanks now.

I'd like to thank PeterCHayward for showing me this doc again. I had been looking for it for a while.

Sadly, the link isn't working for me... crying


"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

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Rabit wrote:

 

Lord Flash Fire wrote:
jffdougan wrote:
 PeterCHayward wrote:
Hahaha well...that'd explain it!For most of the ARG, I was working from this doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F-4drbJyXUWxFg_EzzBsrprzPciAtRdZ... had my full copy of Sentinels (and used it from time to time for art-based things) but for most of the stuff that relied on specific words and flavor text, I was using that doc.As I was, I accidentally got Micro Targeting Computer and Mega Computer's flavor texts mixed up. No one solved it because it was an unsolvable clue! Sorry, all.(If you look at Micro Targeting Computer's flavor text instead, you'll see the key I was talking about.) 

 

So, so cool to see this as a worthwhile reference.Christopher & Adam, if you guys haven't been publicly thanked before for sanctioning its existence & letting it come out of the shadows, please accept thanks now.

I'd like to thank PeterCHayward for showing me this doc again. I had been looking for it for a while.

Sadly, the link isn't working for me... crying

When you open it up in a new window, look at the end of the web address. There's an accidental I at the end. Backspace that and you should be good to go.wink At least that worked for me.angel


" Ever had those days where you have amazing luck,
everything goes right, and you feel like the king of the world...
....And then you wake up?"
-Someone special, 2012

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Original link should work, but the quoted one has removed the paragraph break and eaten the "I" from "I had"


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Shiny! Thanks, folks! :-D


"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

Unicode U+24BD gets us Ⓗ. (Thanks, Godai!)

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Thanks for writing this! It must have taken ages! I really, really loved the game and so did my students! Some of us were huddled around the screen being blown away with the amazing-ness that was happening in the community. It actually got my 5th graders interested in the game as a whole, so I bought another copy for my classroom and we continued to play it during their lunchtimes for the remainder of the year. Awesome job!

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much0gust0 wrote:

Thanks for writing this! It must have taken ages! I really, really loved the game and so did my students! Some of us were huddled around the screen being blown away with the amazing-ness that was happening in the community. It actually got my 5th graders interested in the game as a whole, so I bought another copy for my classroom and we continued to play it during their lunchtimes for the remainder of the year. Awesome job!

Have you introduced anything similar to this year's crop that's about to go away?  Do you plan to introduce it to next year's group?

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I just want to say the thread title reads like someone is saying "OblivAeon" and getting bludgeoned mid-word.

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How do you know I wasn't?

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