Quest for the Holy Scroll

Discuss Chaos Strikes Back, the "expansion pack" for Dungeon Master. This forum may contain spoilers.

Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Christophe Fontanel » 20-May-02 21:26

In the Atari ST version of Chaos Strikes Back, there is a scroll at (08,06,35) reading: "Grynix jernum quey ki skebow rednim u os dey wefna enocarn aquantana". This scroll is not found in other versions of the game.

To this day, no one seems to have understood the hidden meaning of this scroll. Maybe it has no meaning at all, but I believe it is not the case.

Knowing that before making games, Wayne Holder's company developed spell checkers and other stuff of the same kind, I guess they used some sort of a word scrambling/encoding/encrypting tool to build this mysterious scroll.

I'd like to launch a competition, the "Quest for Holy Scroll", which goal is to finally discover the message behind that scroll. Everyone can participate, and there is nothing to win apart from eternal gratitude from CSB fans around the world.


I think one track to follow would be that the message is an anagram.
The real message would then have to use the following letters (rearranged):
aaaaaa b c dd eeeeeee f g iii j kk mm nnnnnnnn ooo qq rrrr ss t uuuu ww x yyy

The specific arrangement of letters on the scroll make me think it is a clue about the number of words, the number of letters in each word, and the order of these words. If this is true, then the "real" message, as the one on the scroll, would have:
1 word of 1 letter
2 words of 2 letters
1 word of 3 letters
1 word of 4 letters
1 word of 5 letters
4 words of 6 letters
1 word of 7 letters
1 word of 9 letters


Searching for such an anagram may take some time. If someone skilled with letter games read that, you may give it a try!

Let's hope some day we'll learn the truth about this scroll.
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Paul Stevens » 21-May-02 00:39

This was not done with "scrambling/encoding/encrypting" software.
Any such software uses unpredictable keys to encode text and the
resulting 'ciphertext' would look much more random. This ciphertext
is more-or-less readable. The probability of the two 'q's being followed
by two 'u's is infinitessimal. This was done by hand, IMHO.

You are suggesting that the cipher is a transposition cipher with
word order and word breaks retained. If I understand you correctly.
The lack of an 'h' is worrisome. "The', 'there', 'which', 'why', etc. It
is not likely to write a sentence this long without an 'h'. But then an
entire book was written without an 'e' so it is possible. The number of
'n's is puzzling. The number of 's' and 't' combined is very troublesome.

May I suggest a very small sub-problem? In the middle of the message
are a one, two, and three letter word. What might they be?

u os dey
I am not (but this uses the valuable 't')
? ?? ???

PAul
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Gambit37 » 21-May-02 08:32

I am fairly certain that this scroll is a deliberate red-herring and as such cannot be deciphered by any 'normal' means. I've tried several times, and I agree with Paul - the way the words are written suggests that whoever wrote it (probably Andy Jaros), they wanted to suggest real words.

Some of the FTL people occasionally look at this board - you never know, they might post the answer - if there is one!
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Paul Stevens » 21-May-02 12:30

Hi again, Mr. Gambit!

We may agree that this was a 'hand job'. But please do not imply
that we agree that this is a 'red herring'. Although it may very well
be a red herring we will not accomplish anything by throwing up our
hands.

My feeling is that a clever person (the people who produced this game
must be given credit for clever) would not throw random characters
at us. Their playfulness and sense of humor would almost require
that they hide something in such a message. They may have
overestimated our cleverness and hidden it too well.

PAul
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Gambit37 » 21-May-02 14:55

Heh, I certainly didn't mean to imply that you thought it was a red herring! ;-)

I had another go with this last night, and nearly thought I had hit on something. But alas, not. I tried substituting some common DM words for the words that appear in the message, such as master, magic, chaos, etc. then seeing which other letters could be matched, and guessing at gaps. No show, at least not yet anyway.

The word "aquantana" is one that messes things up (or potentially is the key, depending on your point of view). Lots of "a" and "n" and like you said before the "q" and "u" together is curious.

Has anyone played a different laguage version of CSB and found the same scroll? That could help out (perhaps)??

I agree about FTL being a clever bunch. Way, way ahead of their time...
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby sucinum » 23-May-02 23:31

i tried a bit around with the x letters up/down system (each letter is subsituted by another letter x places different in alphabet) and i didnt come to any result which could create useful words.
i bet on:
1. anagram
2. foreign language (maybe backwards) no1 of us speaks; its not german then^^
3. both
4. totally different.
im not practised very much in anagrams and things, but ill have a try.
anyone ever emailed one of the creators?
i think i can remind of a thread in some forum where people complained about them not answering...
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Lunever » 24-May-02 14:39

Somehow sounds like a witchcraft spell, being free of any deliberate, logical meaning, so to distract the mind from interfering with the inner forces while chanting it.
Who knows just HOW clever it's author truly was...
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby beowuuf » 24-May-02 16:13

Amber, don't forget key-words (ie, you use theron, and then translate every sixth letter with t =a, then h = a, etc)
I notice the sentence likes 6 blocks ALOT ... most words can be combined (or in one case split)easily into six letter blocks...makes me wonder if a secondary transportation code is in effect

for example:

Grynix
jernum
queyki
skebow
rednim
uosdey
wefnae
nocarn
aquant

ana

if the ana was a null to throw people off track, then it´s VERY neat the way that it sets up...you could then try forming a new sentence from the verticals of this (alternate up and down, take each downin turn, etc), and see if anything comes of that *shrug*
Was unable to (permenantly) kill off ian_scho (Haynuus), Ameena, oh_brother (Westian), money (Falkor), raixel (Petal) and Lord_Bones (Aurek) in the DM D&D game Time's Champions!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THOSE WHO MADE THE GAME WHAT IT WAS - GREAT!
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby nickman » 13-Jun-02 22:48

Wow what a great site you've set up here! Anyway, I have no idea what what this scroll means. (Being an Amiga player, I never came accross it.) But it does remind me of another puzzle that has bothered me for many years. Way back in the day, in "Bard's Tale I", I came accross an inscription on the wall of the first dungeon, the sewers. It read "IRKM DESMET DAEM". Maybe some of you guys remember that too...I'd be interested to know if anyone ever figured out what it meant. Same sort of puzzle, it seems, but maybe more conducive to an easy solution.

Once again, fanstastic site here...brought back the good old days.
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Steve Hall » 19-Jun-02 18:47

evry 1 seems to be thinking in a very literal way where evry letter is used. I remember an old fighting fantasy book were a special langage was used - each vowel was replaced by the following letter, eg a = b, u= v, 2ndly, spaces between words are replaced by the last vowel used, thus all vowels mean nothing. then spaces were put in randomly to confuse the issue. perhaps such a system could hav been worked on this. hav a look at the strange scroll message board on this very forum.......
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Sphenx » 19-Jun-02 20:35

I think I know this 'langage' (maybe it was called 'human langage'?..).
I tried it for the scroll but I did not find anything good.
However, you can still try it. But I think this is not yet our solution ... if any ...
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby beowuuf » 19-Jun-02 22:53

final fantasy book 24 for those interested, and yep, it's best to think out of the box with this one if it does end up being a cipher ; )

I started wondering if each three letter group was one letter, with the other two letters only following vague rules, like na or an being the same, etc
I agree the spaces aren't goign to mean anything...i still can't get it out of my head the fact that it has six blocks, and the fact that they then try to hide it with a few shifts in spacing...
Was unable to (permenantly) kill off ian_scho (Haynuus), Ameena, oh_brother (Westian), money (Falkor), raixel (Petal) and Lord_Bones (Aurek) in the DM D&D game Time's Champions!

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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Rage » 25-Jun-02 21:43

So If i'm right nobody knows this until this day I'm writing this?:)

omg that's funny, and even more funny people are still discussing what i would mean. That's quite an impressive job by FTL:))
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Eliahad » 5-Dec-02 08:27

Has anyone tried reading it outloud. Perhaps it's aural more than codable.
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Lunever » 6-Dec-02 19:39

And what language's pronounciation do you suggest?
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby valuigi » 6-Dec-02 23:46

i have a feeling that the wife of one of the main guys from FTL had something to do with this. i think it says on the site here that she is a writer by trade and therefore has quite a literary background. perhaps a devious puzzle she dreamed up one night?

also, maybe we should consider the context in which this scroll is found... what has just occured? where is the party headed towards? is it found in an altar? or just lying on the floor? have we recently been given new knowledge regarding something else eg. a new spell or potion? or is such knowledge up ahead? questions like these might help us to gather some idea of the type of intention behind the scroll...
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Eliahad » 7-Dec-02 07:10

If I knew it was in fact an aural solution, and the language pronunciation, I would've suggested one. Unfortunately, I don't have a clue.

I do know that I found the scroll after beating the Vexirk Room in the KU portion of the dungeon. I walked through the secret door to the left of the fountain and saw the chest. In that chest I found a magnifying glass and three gor coins. The glass was first, the scroll second. And I just had the idea of looking at the scroll through the magnifying glass, but that didn't work.
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Lunever » 7-Dec-02 14:11

Can anyone tell the exact location according to th Encyclopaedia maps? For it seems to be missing in the maps here and I think it should be added.
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Christophe Fontanel » 7-Dec-02 18:53

The location is in the first post of this thread.
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Simon » 10-Dec-02 14:53

Steve, I remember that fighting fantasy book... If its the one I think they made it so you it was the letter before, then the letter after, then before etc... ie abc would be zcb (z before a, c after b, b before c)
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby beowuuf » 10-Dec-02 17:23

nope, it was simplier than that - you moved everything to the next consanat, spaces were vowels (usuually the last coded vowel)

sffeh pwoj tiwprkso?
Was unable to (permenantly) kill off ian_scho (Haynuus), Ameena, oh_brother (Westian), money (Falkor), raixel (Petal) and Lord_Bones (Aurek) in the DM D&D game Time's Champions!

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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Sphenx » 10-Dec-02 20:05

J tij sivfr zyfb szy.
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby beowuuf » 10-Dec-02 22:30

Or maybe you left the consanants alone, and only coded the vowels...i forget....

Fjt hfrew byajt ilppk sol jkfe myen prmb latyp jngix
Was unable to (permenantly) kill off ian_scho (Haynuus), Ameena, oh_brother (Westian), money (Falkor), raixel (Petal) and Lord_Bones (Aurek) in the DM D&D game Time's Champions!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THOSE WHO MADE THE GAME WHAT IT WAS - GREAT!
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Steve Hall » 23-Dec-02 18:09

I think we might have to face up to the fact that it was was just a red herring. The "puzzle" bothered me with sleepless nights (!) way back when I first got the game, and I'll be damned if i will let it do it again... lol

I think it's written in such a way that you would expect it to make sense, but it really has no solution.

I give up....
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby sucinum » 24-Dec-02 09:42

i will still follow any clue ;)
wasnt this scroll replaced by the magic map in the amiga-version?
maybe thats just part of the code for the magic map ;)
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby Steve Hall » 24-Dec-02 18:45

It could, in fact, be part of a puzzle which was never completed before the games release...

Has anyone tried to throw it into the ful-ya pit?
-just a thought...
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby PicturesInTheDark » 10-Jan-03 12:24

Hello everybody,

here are the results of an analysis try. If you want the formatted pdf-file or the excel sheets with the details, let me know. For better reading this will be broken up in three parts. Hope you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed analyzing... Regards, Pitd

************************************************************

QUEST FOR THE HOLY SCROLL

Launched by Christophe Fontanel

2003-01-09


Contents:

A. Basic outline (Hypothesis) 3
B. Detailed plan for decryption 3
a. Steps for verification I 3
b. Results of those steps I 4
C. Specific attempt to decrypt a single word 6
a. Steps for verification II 6
b. Results of those steps II 6
D. Analysis of results 7
E. Further assumptions for future decrypting 7
F. Conclusions 8

After reading Christophe Fontanel’s „Quest for the holy scroll” I started out on a first attempt to find a translation (or eliminate one method for others).

A. Basic outline (Hypothesis)

This attempt (sketched in detail below) is base on a few basic assumptions, that all have to be true to receive a positive result (e.g. a complete translation). These are:

1. The phrase makes sense and is not some error or fragment but can really be decrypted
2. The language on the scroll is english (when decrypted)
3. The words and their letters are scrambled letter by letter (e.g. a=a, a=b, b=c … - in which way is not relevant for this method)
a. Each letter stands for exactly one other letter when decrypted
b. None of the decrypted letters is appearing more than once when crypted and vice versa (e.g. a can be any letter, but just one and no more than one when decrypted – the same goes for all letters)
4. The words have the same length, no matter if crypted or decrypted (e.g. no forming of rectangles and then reading the meaning column after column or alike methods).

Please note: A verification of these assumptions is not possible until a result is found.

(End of part 1)
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby PicturesInTheDark » 10-Jan-03 12:29

(part 2)

B. Detailed plan for decryption

a. Steps for verification I

After formulating these assumptions, I started out on making a plan for decrypting the given phrase “Grynix jernum quey ki skebow rednim u os dey wefna enocarn aquantana”. This plan included the following steps:

1. Finding the (approximate) percentages of the appearance of each letter in the english language in general
2. Finding the (approximate) percentages of the appearance of each letter in all other scroll texts in Dungeon Master and Chaos strikes back (including all syllabes of spells)
3. Finding the (approximate) percentages of the appearance of each letter in all other scroll texts in Dungeon Master and Chaos strikes back (excluding all syllabes of spells)
4. Comparing the percentages of those three steps to find out if the (comparatively short and artificial) phrases on the scrolls found in DM & CSB were at least near the “real” ones to have any chance for success
5. Identifying a word or phrase most likely to decrypt.
6. Formulating a detailed way to decrypt that word or phrase based on the main assumptions from above – success verifying them or failure meaning that at least one of them was wrong. Please note: This meant finding a plan that covers all bases and makes no logical error. If you can spot any, I would be glad to hear from you about it.

b. Results of those steps I

1. The (approximate) percentages of the appearance of each letter in the english language are:

letter # of occurences percentage # of words percentage
e 42689 11.74% 30254 66.63%
i 31450 8.65% 23875 52.58%
s 29639 8.15% 22697 49.99%
a 28965 7.97% 23408 51.55%
r 27045 7.44% 22642 49.87%
n 26975 7.42% 21644 47.67%
t 24599 6.76% 20040 44.14%
o 21588 5.94% 17776 39.15%
l 19471 5.35% 16289 35.87%
c 15002 4.13% 13142 28.94%
d 13849 3.81% 12334 27.16%
u 11715 3.22% 10894 23.99%
g 10339 2.84% 9426 20.76%
p 10063 2.77% 8952 19.72%
m 9803 2.70% 8871 19.54%
h 7808 2.15% 7372 16.24%
b 7368 2.03% 6880 15.15%
y 6005 1.65% 5881 12.95%
f 4926 1.35% 4385 9.66%
v 3971 1.09% 3884 8.55%
k 3209 0.88% 3091 6.81%
w 3073 0.85% 2997 6.60%
z 1631 0.45% 1555 3.42%
x 1053 0.29% 1046 2.30%
j 727 0.20% 727 1.60%
q 682 0.19% 681 1.50%

(End of part 2)
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby PicturesInTheDark » 10-Jan-03 12:30

(part 3)

2. The percentages of the appearance of each letter in in DM+CSB (including spell syllabes) are:

letter # of occurences percentage
e 170 10,97%
a 148 9,55%
o 129 8,33%
t 116 7,49%
r 108 6,97%
s 102 6,58%
i 101 6,52%
n 90 5,81%
l 85 5,49%
h 75 4,84%
p 49 3,16%
f 48 3,10%
d 47 3,03%
c 45 2,91%
g 45 2,91%
u 39 2,52%
m 35 2,26%
b 31 2,00%
w 31 2,00%
y 23 1,48%
k 14 0,90%
v 11 0,71%
z 4 0,26%
x 2 0,13%
j 1 0,06%
q 0 0,00%

3. The percentages of the appearance of each letter in in DM+CSB (excluding spell syllabes) are:

letter # of occurences percentage
e 159 11,64%
a 127 9,30%
t 111 8,13%
o 100 7,32%
s 94 6,88%
i 92 6,73%
n 83 6,08%
l 81 5,93%
r 80 5,86%
h 64 4,69%
p 49 3,59%
c 45 3,29%
f 44 3,22%
d 42 3,07%
g 42 3,07%
m 35 2,56%
u 33 2,42%
w 28 2,05%
b 21 1,54%
y 16 1,17%
k 10 0,73%
v 7 0,51%
x 2 0,15%
j 1 0,07%
q 0 0,00%
z 0 0,00%

(End of part 3)
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Re: Quest for the Holy Scroll

Postby PicturesInTheDark » 10-Jan-03 12:39

(part 4)

4. Comparing the percentages of those three steps to find out if the phrases on the scrolls found in DM were at least near the “real” ones. You may have noticed, that the ten letters with the highest percentage are ***E-i-s-a-r-n-t-o-l-c*** in table 1, ***E-a-o-t-r-s-i-n-l-h*** in table 2 and ***E-a-t-o-s-i-n-l-r-h*** in Table 3. There is a compliance of 90%, only the tenth letter of table 1 (“c”) does not appear in the others, but another (“h”) instead (“c” is no. 14 and 12 respectively in tables 2 and 3). This was a satisfying result (minor positional differences nonwithstanding), since I followed, that the letters of the scrolls (and even their percentage appearances) used in DM are more or less representant for the english language in general. Enough reason to continue….

Please note: The appearanceof the letters in the crypted phrase (a=6 b=1 c=1 d=2 e=7 f=1 g=1 I= 3 j=1 k=2 m=2 n=8 o=3 q=2 r=4 s=2 t=1 u=4 w=2 x=1 y=3 or descending ***n-e-a-r-u-I-o-y-s-d-w-k-q-t-c-g-f-j-x***) shows a, e, n and r prominent (corresponding to the three tables) but i, s, t are underrepresented. Surprisingly, the three most uncommon letters x, j and q all appear – q even twice. Maybe not enough to draw a clue for such a short phrase, although a pattern seems to show - but more to that in my conclusion at the end.

5. Identifying a word or phrase most likely to decrypt. This might look like the most difficult task, but actually I found it quite easy. I reasoned that the longest word must be the easiest to work on, and as luck (?) had it, it was also a very significant one – “aquantana”. In this word, one letter (“a”) appears 4 (!) times, another one (“n”) twice.

6. Formulating a detailed way to decrypt that word or phrase based on the 3 main assumptions from above. Following the results from step 5 I devised a detailed follow-up plan.

(end of part 4)
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