Ferret: Audience Participation   52 comments

Not quite so big an update this time, as I am needing the help of you, the reader. Even the lurker who never comments: we need you! Yes, we’ve got a crew plundering through Ferret whilst chatting in the comments, but this involves a riddle, and someone random reading this might decipher what’s going on. It is (probably) self-contained and might just need a lateral insight.

From the programmer’s guide for the 32-bit Eclipse.

So last time I jumped into a cathedral, and wow, there’s lots of interesting things here; there’s a video screen that doesn’t work, a mysterious mirror, a “room of descent”, a fat monk who wanders around and occasionally mischievously bonks you on the head (which reduces your health and might eventually kill you if it happens too often); I’ll describe all those in more detail next time.

Importantly for this post, there’s a lock in an “Outer Sanctum”:

Outer Sanctum
You are in a room lit by a suffuse glow. Set in one wall is a combination lock. Above the lock is a numerical readout.
Exits: —- ——– —
-> examine readout
The readout is set to 666

There is a strong clue elsewhere, a multi-sided cube which gives what seems to be a pair of riddles, framed with an outer pair of instructions.

Room of Indulgence
You are in a room lit by a suffuse glow. There is a massive crystalline cube
in the middle of the room.
Exits: —- ——– —
The massive crystal cube contains:
a stone cube with
a north face
a south face
an east face
a west face

-> examine east face

A Message from the Highmost

If you are truly the messiah of knowledge,
and I believe everyone to be the chosen one
at the appropriate time, you should, by now,
have accumulated the knowledge to provide the
key to the Inner Sanctum of the Highmost.

Claim what is yours by rite, undo the lock,
and ascend to the seat of knowledge at the
right hand of the all-knowing one. Set the
celestial lock and you will inherit all.

-> examine north face

Musings of a Monk (Part 1)

It is said, knowledgeable one,
That unto the first of all being
Came four ignorant sons.

It is said, all seeing one,
That unto the second of all being
Came two average daughters.

It is said, omniscient one,
That unto the third of all being
Came three bright sons.

Whose order now occupies the
Seat of all knowledge?

-> examine south face

Musing of a Monk (Part 2)

According to the eye of the Great,
Three ignorant sons will begat only
Ignorant sons, to the count of a man.

According to the eye of the Great,
Two average daughters will bring unto you
Grandchildren of mixed intelligence,
Their number being equal to that
Accessible to the Ruler at the centre
Of the empty board.

According to the eye of the Great,
Three bright sons, will each raise young
To the sum of time, and will be the
Key to the book of knowledge.

-> examine west face

Maxims of a Monk

The book of knowledge has many pages,
Enough pages to satisfy all your questions.

By the number of the devil I beseech you,
The young sons will be the order that
takes the right to own the seat.

I am a mere servant to the knowledge,
I pin my destiny to the omniscient chest,
My death will serve also,
As a guide to those that follow.

The “part 1” at its simplest level implies the number 423 (number of ignorant sons, daughters, bright sons). You can go back to the keypad and enter that number in the lock:

-> set lock to 423
You are blinded by an intense light and thrown with tremendous force against one of the walls. You momentarily lose consciousness.
-> l
Room of Past Hope
You are in a room lit by a suffuse glow.
Exits: —- ——– —

Now, you can go directly back in the lock room and try another code; unfortunately, we don’t know what that code is. (I’ll mention some theories in the comments, I don’t want to steer people the wrong way without at least thinking about it first. We obviously have something wrong.)

It seems likely that there is a second code entered in the same keypad because if you want without entering a second code, a curtain of light appears at the entrance to the keycode room, and you can enter that instead of the room.

As you enter the curtain you begin to feel really spaced out. This could be due to the fact that all of the molecules in your body have been converted to a digital signal to be beamed to another place. Unfortunately the process does not appear to have completed properly and you are left eternally spread across the space-time continuum.
You’ve taken an inter-galactic overdose.

This strongly implies we’ve “activated the gate” but not managed to make a “teleporter setting” correctly or whatnot.

Any thoughts? There is the faint possibility of a “second lock” (as Voltgloss mentions in the comments) which is actually where the code goes, but give the delay that lets you access the lock still that seems unlikely. Additionally, if you try to input a second code wrongly, there is an alarm and the keypad freezes up disallowing further code entries; if there was meant to be only one code, it likely would be already frozen.

ADD: The code for “part 2” has been brute-forced in the game, and the comment at top includes the code. However, we could still use back-solving to figure out why the riddle matches the code.

Posted October 18, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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52 responses to “Ferret: Audience Participation

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  1. Okay, laying everything out (and incidentally, no rot13 encryption or whatnot in this thread, let’s just talk it out).

    According to the eye of the Great, / Three ignorant sons will begat only / Ignorant sons, to the count of a man.

    This implies to me that the sons also had their own sons but only one each (to the count of a man). It is faintly possible this means each of the three sons had three each (so 3 times 3 = 9). This implies the first digit of the code is either 3 or 9. However, I’m not certain of the interpretation there

    According to the eye of the Great, / Two average daughters will bring unto you / Grandchildren of mixed intelligence, / Their number being equal to that / Accessible to the Ruler at the centre / Of the empty board.

    Best guess is “if you put a king in the middle of the chessboard, how many spaces it can reach” — the answer would be 8.

    According to the eye of the Great, / Three bright sons, will each raise young / To the sum of time, and will be the / Key to the book of knowledge.

    This one I’m finding utterly baffling in every way.

    (ADD: so you don’t have to fuss in the other comments, by brute force in the game itself we know the answer is 262, but no idea why. Can anyone help?)

    • I think I have solved it, for the second combination try this: https://pastebin.com/vppsNAz5 (obviously a spoiler, sorry linked+ROT13 anyway, I wouldn’t want anyone to catch it by mistake)
      Don’t ask me to explain how it makes sense though.. ;)

      • Cool, thanks. I was about to start bruteforcing it. :)

      • Actually, after some further mental revolutions… Here is something else to work with: https://pastebin.com/QL6C4rtr
        Now we can go on with more thinking I think.

      • (spoilers for locksolving, later stage)
        I thought I commented about the relation to the video screen already, but apparently I didn’t..?

        So we have three number combinations that do something possibly useful with the lock.
        The smallest one makes a rumble (and probably does something else that I haven’t discovered yet).
        The middle one (known from the post) throws you out of the room.
        The greatest one makes a muted clunk and makes the video screen useful.

        Using first the middle one and then one of the others changes the name (a second time) of the Apocalypse room, and turns on a curtain of light (and blocks you from getting back into Outer Sanctum).

      • > Using first the middle one and then one of the others changes the name (a second time) of the Apocalypse room, and turns on a curtain of light (and blocks you from getting back into Outer Sanctum).

        Ah, sorry for confusing you. As Jason wrote, those two things seems to happen whatever second combination we try.

      • The screen is showing a room with walls made of solid rock, so it is probably a hidden room past the Room of Descent (because at the Base of Ramp the walls are of solid rock). I have a feeling Voltgloss has already solved this one with the wire tied to the two ends of the splint.

      • Full disclosure, to make things clear – if there was any doubt:
        I found the lock combinations by automated brute forcing using AUDIT while doing READFILE with a specially crafted script. I expected that I would be able to make sense of the riddle with the results, but I’m afraid that even with the answer(s!) it is still too convoluted for me.

      • And I take it you tried all possibilities already_

      • I think I figured out how to derive the largest of the solutions K found via brute forcing. Turns out it’s not a solution to the riddle posted, but to a part of a *different* riddle (that I didn’t realize was related to this until now) that is found after figuring out what to do with the splint. (I give hints about the splint downthread in a separate post.)

        Here’s the additional text I found post-splint-use:

        -> x notice
        “Enlighten the Omniscient One,
        Bring forth glowing gifts to his presence,
        Illuminate his path and
        Call unto yourself knowledge.

        Bring unto yourself the Riders of the Apocalypse,
        Procreate them by the Deadly Sins,
        Give them a Centurion’s strength,
        Split them asunder with one hand.

        Then shall enlightenment be wrought.”

        And here’s how I get one of the solutions out of this:

        1. “Oevat hagb lbhefrys gur Evqref bs gur Ncbpnylcfr” = nqq bar (lbhefrys) gb sbhe (Evqref), trggvat svir
        2. “Cebperngr gurz ol gur Qrnqyl Fvaf” = zhygvcyl ol frira, trggvat guvegl-svir
        3. “Tvir gurz n Praghevba’f fgeratgu” = n Ebzna praghevba unq 80 yrtvbanverf; zhygvcyl guvegl-svir ol rvtugl gb trg gjb gubhfnaq rvtug uhaqerq
        4. “Fcyvg gurz nfhaqre jvgu bar unaq” = qvivqr ol svir, trggvat gur fbyhgvba: svir uhaqerq fvkgl

      • Also, and I haven’t had time to test this yet, but “a room with walls made of solid rock” could be an area that I found after making progress near the *Monastery*.

    • Here’s one possibility:

      Count of man: 13 (m) * 1 (a) * 14 (n) = 182
      Squares accessible to Queen (also a ruler) at the center of a chess board = 27
      Sum of time: 20 (t) + 9 (i) + 13 (m) + 5 (e) = 47

      This takes us to 182 + 27 + 47 = 256, which is 6 short of 262. Where could we find 6? Well there’s still the line in the west face: “The young sons will be the order that takes the right to own the seat”. South face mentions three ignorant and three bright sons, totaling the still required 6 sons.

      There could be other explanations, though.

      • Intriguing possibility! Here’s another possible explanation, working backwards from the bright sons:

        “According to the eye of the Great, / Three bright sons, will each raise young / To the sum of time, and will be the / Key to the book of knowledge.”

        The three bright sons will *each* raise young to the sum “of time.” Maybe instead of summing “time” we’re supposed to sum “of time” – and then multiply that result by 3, because *each* of the bright sons raised young to the sum “of time.” 15 (o) + 6 (f) + 47 (time) = 68; 68 times 3 = 204.

        “According to the eye of the Great, / Two average daughters will bring unto you / Grandchildren of mixed intelligence, / Their number being equal to that / Accessible to the Ruler at the centre / Of the empty board.”

        I agree that 27, based on a Queen in the centre of an empty chessboard, makes good sense here. But there are two daughters, so perhaps we multiply by 2. 27 times 2 = 54. Add that to the 204 above, and we have 258. We’re 4 short of the answer.

        “According to the eye of the Great, / Three ignorant sons will begat only / Ignorant sons, to the count of a man.”

        How do we get 4 from this? Well, maybe the trick here is that, per Part 1 of the Musings, there *aren’t actually* three ignorant sons: there are FOUR. And each of those four begat “ignorant sons, to the count of a man” = 1 son apiece. 4 times 1 = 4. Plus 258 from above = 262.

        …Now I feel like we need a title card from the end of Clue the Movie to preface someone else’s third equally plausible theory. “That’s how it could have happened. But how about this??”

      • It’s blindingly obvious, once you see it.

        Count of A man (blasted articles): 1 (a) + 13 (m) + 1 (a) + 14 (n) = 29.
        Multiply that by three ignorant sons = 87.

        Ruler at the center of the board: This is meant to just a) imply that it’s chess we are talking and b) point out that Queen is the strongest piece, especially at the center of the board. In chess notation, Queen is Q (17).
        Multiply that by two average daughters = 34.

        Sum of time: 47, as above.
        Multiply that by three bright sons = 141.

        87 + 34 + 141 = 262. I rest my case.

        Ilmari Jauhiainen
    • A problem I have with some of the possible riddle interpretations is that they more or less depend on “mythology” or other “specialist knowledge”.

      In the author’s comments it is said that:
      “Ferret was designed to build on this base and extend the experience by means of a familiar user interface, a real-world context, no specialist knowledge (e.g., mythology), the ability to use command scripts and the capability for future expansion.”
      Source: https://www.ifwiki.org/Ferret#Author.27s_Comments

      It makes me think that the riddles should be solvable without knowledge about deadly sins or riders of apocalypse, while centurions and chess rules seem a bit more plausible. Character order numbering and everyday mathematics are obviously(?) in the “allowed” area.

      • The argument could be made that information from a common religious text is not within however the Ferret authors define “mythology.” Would it still be considered “specialist knowledge” to someone who is *not* of that religion? Possibly.

        The number of legionaires in an ancient Roman centurion, on the other hand, I absolutely would consider “specialist knowledge.” In the sense of, “not common knowledge.” So I do think this riddle skews from the philosophy presented in the author comment.

        That all said, I am 95% confident that the solution I’ve detailed for this riddle is indeed the solution we’re intended to reach. (Much less confident about the other “Musings Phase 2” proposal.)

      • I think the number of deadly sins (7) and riders of apocalypse (4) are just so widely known that I would be comfortable with assuming that “everyone” would know them. The centurion thing, on the other hand, would probably be quite annoying to figure out in the pre-Wikipedia/Google time.

        The 2nd one is indeed much less clear, but at least Ilmari’s proposal of “the sum of time” as being the sum of the letter’s index in the alphabet seems like the only sensible solution to an otherwise obscure sentence. And the idea of the ruler being the queen is also quite reasonable (at first I didn’t consider it because I was expecting a one-digit number).

      • I agree that your solution most probably is the intended, especially with these topics clearly being referred to in the riddle text. But with the author’s comments in mind I am a bit surprised that we now so obviously venture into such territory.

        I haven’t played or revisited Zork in ~40 years and hardly remember anything except what is part of popular culture, and I can’t recall what areas of special knowledge was called upon to solve it. (Was the baseball diamond maze thing there maybe?) I imagine that the Ferret authors might have taken issue with some “specialist knowledge” items/themes in Zork and other predecessors of Ferret and wanted to make something more “pure” and accessible.

        But, to go meta-discussion on this, I think it would be difficult to make a fun/good IF game without using any more or less “special knowledge” pieces in puzzles. It is rather a question of which areas to use and how deep to go, to suit the intended target audience. Players seem to enjoy that their specific pockets of knowledge are made useful. Even if we would make a very “abstract” game, I imagine it would difficult without dipping into any “specialist knowledge” areas like logic, topology, mathematics, cartography, linguistics and so on. With no “specialist knowledge”, does it not all become trivial?

        It is not clear from the author’s comment, but I surmise they specifically refer to *outside* (ie “real world”) specialist knowledge since it is customary for any work of fiction to build its own world of internal specialist knowledge and it would seem a very unusual restriction to try to do without that in an IF work.

        I recognize that Jason and and several commenters here have probably have experience of many more IF games than I have ever played. Do you have any thoughts on this – is it realistically possible to achieve the design goal that Ferret sets regarding this and at the same time make the generally popular IF game that Ferret also set out to be?

        Some relevant quotes from the author’s comment on IFWiki:

        “Zork is widely regarded as a classic in its genre […], spawned manifold variations and attracted millions of players […]. Indeed, such was the popularity of the Zork-style game during this time, Infocom […] collaborated with Douglas Adams to produce the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Infocom Adventure. Ferret was designed to build on this base and extend the experience by means of a familiar user interface, a real-world context, no specialist knowledge (e.g., mythology), the ability to use command scripts and the capability for future expansion. It achieved most of these aims but was hindered by a small user population (Data General was, at best, a small computer company) and by being developed at the time when the PC revolution was starting with all the associated possibilities of attractive graphics […].”

        “The underlying philosophy of Ferret is that it is a puzzle-solving challenge. Therefore, there aren’t any hidden cheats, no special incantations, no secret codes, no dependence on information not generally available and does not require any knowledge of mythology. The information needed to solve each puzzle is generally available or is present somewhere in the game.”

        They must have really disliked some “mythology”-dependent puzzle(s)! :D

      • Yup, the baseball diamond puzzle is from Zork II. Jason examines it in-depth here: https://bluerenga.blog/2020/02/25/zork-ii-infamous/

        I have to think the “mythology” comment is a direct dig, at least, towards one of the solutions for the Cyclops in Zork I.

      • I recall that now, a certain well(?) known name was useful. Perhaps (depending on your tastes) not, in retrospect, the proudest moment for Zork II or IF puzzles. Still, for those who have grown up in my northern European country where Homer is still present in school, it is a much more intuitive line of thought than the baseball diamond. :D

        If indeed we are supposed derive 80 from “centurion’s strength” I think it is worse, and considering that i is just one small piece of a larger puzzle complex that cannot be verified in parts, much worse.
        Even though it might have become something of “common knowledge” that a centuria is 80 men, that is not really true, just like a “company” there were many different centuriae of different sizes and the organization changed many times during the long time span of centurions and centuriae in the Roman army. IIRC, in the beginning it was actually the (aroundish) 100 men the name alludes to.
        Which centurion should we think is referred to in this fictional game set in the future with a lot of technology not seen (yet?) in our world? (And what riders of the apocalypse and deadly sins could be known here, with no clue to if we are even on a Christian Earth much less any references to any real-world religion before this?)

        I think that this is a common problem in this kind of puzzles – that to the one who knows “too much” (=”specialist knowledge”?!) it becomes more of a game of figuring out “what is the common knowledge about this” rather than the “correct” answer, when the puzzler is trying to be smart (I also do geocaching, where this is a very common issue, or perhaps a to-be-expected part of the game).

        Anyway, I propose that what is Homer to one is centuriae to another and baseball to a third. Ferret has chosen their kind of cyclops. I can play along with that, because that is what I am used to, but the author’s comment led me to expect something different or even something *more*.

        But in defense of Ferret I must say that there are/were many much worse examples, so perhaps it will actually turn out to be a step forward relative to its roots.

  2. Have you noted that the monk can steal things from you? “The monk has taken a fancy to one of your possessions.”

    And has anyone found a way to get hold of “a dented bucket”? I can only see it briefly flash before my eyes, haven’t found a way to actually get hold of and keep it.

    • I noticed the message but I don’t think he ever actually took anything. I tried giving him a bunch of things but nothing interesting happened. Never saw the dented bucket myself.

      • Spoiler about discovering the bucket:
        “Lbhe npgvivgvrf jnxr gur zbax jub fgergpurf naq fgnegf gb evfr.
        Gur zbax frrzf gb gnxr rkprcgvba gb or chfurq. Nf ur erpbiref sebz lbhe fghcvq
        orunivbhe ur oraqf gbjneqf lbh naq vzcnegf na vaperqvoyr urnq-ohgg gb gur
        oevqtr bs lbhe abfr. Gur ynfg guvat lbh erzrzore vf frrvat gur funqbj bs gur
        zbax ba gur rnfg jnyy obhapvat hc naq qbja yvxr n juber’f qenjref.
        Gurer vf n qragrq ohpxrg ebyyvat nebhaq gur sybbe.”

        Might be a bug though…

      • Ah… yeah, actually I did see that, but no idea. Maybe it’s like those random messages that you get when you tear something and then examine. Or maybe it’s just a weird death message.

      • Maybe I just “kicked the bucket”… So hard to know with this game. :)

  3. Based on Voltgloss’ clue about the wire/splint, I noticed that if you tie only one end and then walk around, you will drag the splint with you. However, if you tie both ends, the splint will stay behind in whatever room it is dropped, but the wire’s description still says it is tied to both ends of the splint. I think it sounds like a bug, but maybe it is related to the solution?

    • Also, if you look up from the base of the ramp, it says the blue sky is quite beautiful. In all other rooms you get something like “nothing to see but the roof”.

    • About the wire tied to both ends of the splint (and I’m going to ROT13 this soth successive hints because it seems to have nothing to do with the lock – although as I type this, I realize something *after* this may be further relevant, which I’ll post in a separate comment – and I also think this puzzle is my favorite so far in the game):

      1. Gur tnzr vf punyyratvat lbh gb cebcreyl ivfhnyvmr jung lbh unir znqr.
      2. Lbh unir n pheirq cvrpr bs jbbq jvgu n jver gvrq gb (naq pbaarpgvat) obgu raqf.
      3. Vg znl uryc gb ivfhnyvmr gur jver nf orvat gnhg.
      5. Guvf vf n obj naq neebj, hfrq jvgu gur flagnk SVER OBYG NG
      6. V’ir sbhaq gjb hfrf fb sne sbe guvf. Bar vf, lbh pna npghnyyl vawher gur zbax naq fraq uvz cnpxvat (naq qebccvat uvf fghss). Ohg gura lbh ybfr gur obyg, fb gung znl or n jebat zbir.
      7. Gur bgure hfr vf gb oernx fbzrguvat.
      8. Fbzrguvat abg rkcyvpvgyl anzrq va vgf ebbz, ohg lbh pna jvgarff vgf rssrpgf.
      9. Fbzrguvat znqr bs tynff.
      10. Tb gb gur Ebbz bs Vafrphevgl naq SVER OBYG NG ZVEEBE.

      • Ok I went up to 4 and got it. I have to say, damn. You sir can adventure!

      • Have you found out the effect of setting the lock to 262? (“…distant rumbling…”)

      • I have now, although I’m not sure what to do about it. It changes something in the post-splint area. (Try exploring there both before and after setting the lock to 262.)

        Also, it appears you can enter all three codes into the lock so long as you wait to do 423 last.

      • Yeah. [Znlor lbh unir gb ghea gur inyir fbzrubj orsber gung? Gur inyir qvfnccrnef nsgrejneqf, nccneragyl.]
        By the way I made a bit of progress near the monastery, too.

      • Not sure. I would love to [gryy gur tnzr V jnag gb ragre gur cbby jvgubhg hfvat gur sngny QVIR VAGB, nf gur sybbe vf abj nccneragyl fgrrcyl fybcvat (gel chggvat na vgrz va gur cbby) juvpu fhttrfgf na haqrejngre cnffntr zvtug unir bcrarq. Ohg V unira’g uvg ba nal jbexvat flagnk lrg. VA ol vgfrys penfurf gur tnzr, juvpu unf zr pbaprearq gurer znl or n fhofgnagvir oht urer.]

  4. @Voltgloss: about the area near the monastery: [Unir lbh gevrq znccvat gur frpbaq qnex pnir? Gurer vf fbzrguvat jrveq. Rirel bgure ebbz gung vf npprffvoyr nsgre gur svefg qnex ebbz vf pbzcyrgryl fheebhaqrq ol frys ybbcf. V xabj lbh’er cebonoyl abg fhccbfrq gb znc vg naljnl (gur fbyhgvba vf cebonoyl fbzrjurer ryfr, yvxr gur zntnmvar pbire), ohg naljnl gur svefg pnir *pna* or znccrq vs lbh jnag gb; V xabj orpnhfr V znccrq n ovg va gur ortvaavat orsber V ernyvmrq ubj gb hfr gur zntnmvar fbyhgvba. Naq naljnl ubj pbhyq vg yrnq naljurer, rira jvgu n fbyhgvba, vs rirel ebbz vf fheebhaqrq ol frys ybbcf? V qba’g trg vg.]

    • I suspect strongly that [gur frpbaq qnex pnir vf gur cynpr fubja ol gur ivqrb fperra va gur Pngurqeny, naq gung jung jr arrq gb qb vf (v) pbeerpgyl frg gur Pngurqeny ybpx gb znxr n pbyhza bs yvtug nccrne va gung frpbaq qnex pnir; (vv) rfpncr gur Pngurqeny; naq gura (vvv) tb gb gung frpbaq qnex pnir. Gur hafbyirq ceboyrz, bs pbhefr, vf fgrc (vv) va gung frdhrapr.]

    • Monastery progress: I have figured out how to cross the ravine. There’s an interesting tool on the other side, although I haven’t found where to use it yet (and I have no idea how or if we could get it inside the cathedral).

      • Oh, wow, haha! I just realized I also did, but since the room names were the same, I didn’t care to actually read them to realize I was on the other side… *sigh*

  5. one other observation on the descent area:

    Gurer’f n qhyy guhq vs lbh tb jrfg sebz gur qrfprag ebbz vagb gur Uryy ebbz. guvf vf gur bayl gvzr guvf unccraf. Zl fhfcvpvba vf gurer vf na bowrpg ba gur bgure fvqr ohg lbh pna’g npprff vg orpnhfr gur jnyy xrrcf syvccvat (vg vf fvzvyne gb gur gbhpucnq orvat nggnpurq bayl gb bar fvqr). Znlor gurer’f fbzrguvat gur zbax pna fgrny, naq gura bapr gur zbax unf vg lbh pna trg evq bs gur zbax gb gnxr jungrire vg vf?

    • Oh that’s an intriguing idea. For it is possible (don’t read unless you’ve solved the splint and wire conundrum) [gb fubbg gur zbax jvgu gur obyg naq sbepr uvz gb qebc jung ur’f pneelvat. Whfg qb fb *nsgre* hfvat gur obyg fbzrjurer ryfr.]

    • I was so happy getting rid of the randomness, after “bolting” something else I immediately “bolt” the monk without waking him up first to avoid any issues with his meandering and lowering my health. I interpret the availability of expert mode that the game tells us that we can (and probably should) avoid any further randomness.
      Argh, the monk wandering around picking up something reminds me of the (frustratingly independent, but making the game quite interesting) NPCs in The Hobbit (Beam Software, 1982) but then at least you could tell them to do things for you. :P
      Therefore, while this hinting of an elegant puzzle/solution, I am inclined to believe that it is not the case here.

      Anyone succeeded in [haohqtvat gung inyir] in the Room of Water yet?

      In my attempts on the cathedral and non-cathedral paths so far I have not found any hint that I can get back to the cathedral grounds when I have left them – ie the cathedral must be “solved” without using anything from beyond the cathedral grounds. Has anyone found anything hinting the opposite so far? That could open up to totally different strategies of course.

      Some thoughts about interpretation of effects of lock combinations:
      Nz V gur bayl bar guvaxvat gung gur ivfhny qrfpevcgvba bs gur cbfg 4**-pbzovangvba rssrpg va gur Cnfg Gevhzcu ebbz vf irel fvzvyne gb gur cbfg 5**-pbzovangvba ivqrb-ivrjnoyr fprar? Guvf znqr zr guvax gung gurer jnf fbzrguvat zber gb svaq/qb va gur Cnfg Gevhzcu ebbz, ohg nsgre ernqvat lbhe bgure vagrecergngvbaf V thrff V nz jnfgvat zl raretl urer.

      • I might be misunderstanding your question about coming back to the cathedral grounds, but (per Jason’s post before this one), you can TIE WIRE TO STAKE before going east through the gap in the fence and then you have a way back.

        That said, you can’t seen to bring any items up to the cathedral roof besides the wire, which does seem to indicate the cathedral interior must be escaped without the benefit of any outside items (again, besides the wire).

      • Yes, sorry about that, you are correct and I am using that same method – I should have written “bringing external items with me”!
        Thanks for your response. I’ll stay with my current strategies then, until I’ve exhausted all ideas…

      • Does the monk actually pick stuff up if you drop? Or from the inventory? I’ve never seen him do that.

      • Unless it’s absolutely necessary, I wouldn’t waste the bolt on the monk. We found something else that could maybe be used with the bolt after we exit the cathedral.

    • I always assumed that thud was because [gur sybbe trgf onpx hc gb vgf bevtvany funcr. Gung vzcyvrf gung yrnivat gur ebbz jbhyq oevat vg onpx hc, naq gur zbax pbhyq qb gung sbe hf, ohg V’ir unq uvz pbzr naq tb sebz gung ebbz znal gvzrf (rira qbja gur enzc) naq abguvat unccrarq.]

      On another note, that room is kinda confusing to me. At first, I assumed that the goal was to [trg gur sybbe onpx hc fb jr pbhyq chfu gur rnfg jnyy naq trg bhg. Gurer vf n phfgbz cnefre zrffntr vs lbh gel gb CHFU RNFG jura lbh ner ng gur gbc bs gur enzc. Ubjrire, nsgre jr sbhaq gur bhgre pbeevqbe, gung jbhyq or erqhaqnag.]

      Also, many things about the base of the ramp are identical to the [enivar ebbzf. Gur oyhr fxl vf ornhgvshy, naq gur jnyyf ner penttl ebpx ebpxsnprf juvpu ner gbb qnatrebhf gb pyvzo (rknpgyl gur fnzr vs lbh RKNZV EBPX va gur enivar). Fb, V unir n srryvat gung gur onfr bs gur enzc vf nyernql “bhgfvqr”. Jr whfg arrq gb svaq n jnl gb npghnyyl rkvg.]

  6. I was kind of hoping to be done with the cathedral before my next post, but still not there. It sounds like at least a few people are ahead of me still, could we clarify? (I have not done much at the monastery other than get in the ravine/first cave, but I’m not worried about that yet.) Here’s everything:

    V unir znqr gur obj naq obyg-neebj naq hfrq gurz gb ohfg gur zveebe.

    V unir ragrerq nyy gur pbqrf naq frra gur gbhpucnq fperra.

    V unir sbhaq gur cbby ohg abg orra noyr gb qb nalguvat jvgu vg.

    V unir abg tbg nalguvat hfrshy sebz gur zbax bgure guna gur zntnmvar ur qebcf.

    assuming you are farther, could I get some hints?

    • I think we’re all stuck in the same place, cathedral-wise. What you’ve described is the sum total of what I’ve managed there as well.

      • I kind of figured dealing with the pool was a matter of:

        qbvat fbzrguvat gur gnax ng gur gbc bs gur ebbs fbzrubj orsber tbvat va

        haven’t managed to get it to acknowledge any verbs I’ve tried, though

      • Could be that, or could be [gur cvcr naq inyir *orsber* gheavat gung ebbz vagb n fjvzzvat cbby.] But I haven’t had luck there either.

        I also wonder if we’re supposed to *partially* complete the Monastery before clearing the Cathedral. Why give us a way back (via the stake and wire) otherwise? Not the [pnir – V guvax gung pyrneyl vf cbfg-Pngurqeny -] but rather the Monastery/ravine before the cave. Like, I keep trying to combine the brick, the plank, and an item on the other side of the ravine (ground floor – haven’t found a way upstairs across the ravine yet) into something interesting; but haven’t made any more progress there either.

      • Could you give a hint for getting over the ravine?

      • Certainly!

        1. Vs bayl gurer jnf fbzrguvat nebhaq gung vf ynetr rabhtu gb oevqtr gur enivar… gung vfa’g gur qnzanoyr cynax, juvpu fgvyy frrzf gb erfvfg nyy rssbegf ng vagrenpgvivgl.
        2. Jung ynetr bowrpgf nebhaq gur zbanfgrel/enivar nern *jvyy* ernpg gb lbhe pbzznaqf?
        3. Unir lbh rkcrevzragrq jvgu gur obhyqre va gur enivar?
        4. Lbh pna CHFU OBHYQRE naq ebyy vg nybat gur sybbe bs gur enivar.
        5. Ubjrire, vs lbh chfu vg sebz vgf abegu fvqr, lbh’yy whfg oybpx gur pnir (juvpu cerfhznoyl jr arrq gb qrny jvgu yngre).
        6. Zbir fbhgu cnfg gur obhyqre, chfu vg, zbir abegu gb sbyybj vg, naq chfu vg ntnva, naq vg’yy jrqtr vgfrys fbyvqyl vagb gur enivar.
        7. Guvf znxrf n oevqtr gung pbaarpgf gur jrfg fvqr bs gur Ybhatr jvgu vgf rnfg fvqr, gung lbh pna hfr nsgre lbh trg bhg bs gur enivar…
        8. …nygubhtu bs pbhefr, vg’f abg boivbhf ubj gb npghnyyl trg onpx hc bhg bs gur enivar.
        9. Gur ireo lbh jnag vf PYVZO.
        10. Vs PYVZO trgf lbh n phfgbz snvyher zrffntr, ernq vg pnershyyl naq pbafvqre jul lbh zvtug or snvyvat.
        11. PYVZO OBHYQRE vf lbhe jnl bhg, nsgre jrqtvat vg vagb cynpr. Ohg vs lbh trg n zrffntr nobhg snyyvat sbe ynpx bs “sbbgubyqf…”
        12. …gur nafjre vf gb pyvzo gur obhyqre *rzcgl-unaqrq*. Jub arrqf sbbgubyqf jura lbhe unaqf ner serr?

  7. Pingback: Ferret: In the Realm of the Omniscient One | Renga in Blue

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