ARG Event

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So CornCakes posted this thread, about how Tim Cosing is listed nine times as a playtester.

The Following has been compiled and edited by scifantasy of the GtG forums, in this thread.

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.


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

Genocidal.jpg


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

716453289.jpg

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

Intervene.jpg

Following The Wraith's directive to "look at the screens...start at the top, left to right," the players, including VisforYoshi, Chogb011, 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

Harbinger.jpg

(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 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."


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

421234220.jpg

The reference in 421234220 to "the now-classic Freedom Four Annual #1" led players to check [1], 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: [2] (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

Oddallies.jpg

The players started with the same clues that had gotten them to oddallies': jagarciao 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

100263350.jpg

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

Xbtufmboe.gif

'Wiki Admin Note: This gif runs a course then sticks on the zombie as the last image. Click the link to see it run, or click the image for the wiki's uploaded version

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

Omnitronu 1.jpg

(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.)


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 Trajector, kitmehsu, 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

201128190.jpg

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

Timevtime.jpg


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

157784760.jpg

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

Ftadamant.jpg

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 099 111 108 111 114 013--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

918273645.jpg

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

139724865.jpg

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?" Still unsolved.)
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 itscoming. much0gust0 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

Bethegate.jpg

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 SirGropes, Atras, cnranger, 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

T26252731.jpg

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

Endofdays.jpg

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 grysqrl, blitz20688, and arenson9 did the decoding:

https://greaterthangames.com/112233445

112233445.jpg


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

445566778.jpg

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

Scionsaid.jpg

(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.")


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

444455555.jpg

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

Oblivaeonreveal.jpg


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.

    • THE PROGENITOR'S SCION AWAITS**

Progeny Burrows out from deep within the earth in Algeria. He is found standing motionless, waiting for something.

Prime Wardens approach Progeny, and he attacks them.

    • A HORROR AWAKENS**

[Prime Wardens Vs. Progeny]

After making short work of most of the team, Progeny eludes the Wardens, or simply gets bored with them, and burrows into the earth. He resurfaces near Rook City.

Dark Watch and The Scholar, and possibly a reformed Matriarch go out to Progeny to stop him from entering the city.

    • THE DESTRUCTION OF ROOK CITY**

[Dark Watch + The Scholar (+ The Harpy?) Vs. Progeny]

Progeny defeats and/or pushes back the Dark Watch, and begins destroying Rook City. Nightmist expends her powers and goes into mistform.

The Freedom Five arrive with the aid of The Sentinels and Dark Visionary.

[Freedom Five + The Sentinels + Dark Visionary (+ any Dark Watch members who aren't incapacitated?) Vs. Progeny]

Progeny defeats Legacy. Dark Visionary retreats. Progeny continues destroying the city while battling the remaining heroes.

Chrono-Ranger arrives via a spacetime portal with Parse and KNYFE.

[Chrono-Ranger + Parse + KNYFE (+ any previous heroes still capable of fighting?) Vs. Progeny]

Progeny, seemingly satisfied with the amount of destruction caused, moves on from Rook City. He starts making his way towards Megalopolis.

    • AN UNYIELDING MENACE**

Progeny continues making his way towards Megalopolis, Fighting many different heroes along the way. (card art shows at least a few battles with various combinations of F5, PW, DW, and unaffiliated heroes working together against Progeny) [mix of PW heroes + Matriarch/Harpy (possibly other DW members?) + Parse Vs. Progeny] (Reveal the Flaws) [mix of PW heroes including Tempest + mix of F5 heroes including Tachyon Vs. Progeny] (Time of Tribulations)

Progeny defeats most of the heroes, and eventually arrives at Megalopolis.

    • THE BATTLE FOR MEGALOPOLIS**

Legacy has regained consciousness, and rejoins the fight in Megalopolis. Five heroes remain (...that we know of for sure), The Freedom Five.

[Freedom Five Vs. Progeny]

After finally noticing a pattern, and a weakness, the team of heroes enact a plan to defeat the monster once and for all!

After a successful counter-attack, Progeny is defeated! However, in his moment of defeat, Progeny makes his escape into space.