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Subject: Complete Primer for Envelope X (MAJOR SPOILERS) rss

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Nathan Ehlers
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First, the Spoiler-Free preamble…

This has been a little while in the making. A few weeks back someone posted a thread discussing the stuff in and related to Envelope X. It was riddled with people crying "you can't spoil this, OMG, Issac asked us not to!" There were a few people who participated in the discussion that was being raised, but eventually the OP was shamed to the point of deleting not only the thread (with the help of a mod) but also their account. It kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but I was super busy at the time, so whatever. Then this weekend, the subject came up a few times here and here (the links are to my comments and don't have spoilers, the threads do).

I didn't enjoy what was going on in Envelope X (again, spoilers for later). It wasn't fun for me and I wished I could have just googled for a quick answer. The best I could find was this thread (spoilers in that link), where much of the content is discussed and studied, but clearly there were posts that have been removed due to designer request or public shaming. It was helpful for some things but I was still left with trudging through a lot of content by myself.

Here's some slight-spoilery preamble...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I'm not a fan of puzzles. There's nothing wrong with them and I know that there are people into various kinds of cipher, riddles, and other puzzles. So no shade on the hobby. It's just not my thing. Board games are my thing. And so having to march through a series of riddles and puzzles to solve what's in Envelope X was part frustration and part boredom for me. All in order to unlock more board game stuff that I was interested in. I wished all along for a primer like the one I'm going to lay out here. I was heartened by that review thread where the author laid out how it was a bad puzzle (him coming from a puzzle background).

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A Note on Controversy and Public Statements

Before I do the Full Monty, I want to highlight the other position. The designer of Gloomhaven, Issac Childres has said the following:

So I know we're all adults here, and we've all been hanging out on internet forums for as long as we can remember, but I just wanted to emphasize that there are a great many things in this game that I want players to discover and experience for themselves, rather than reading about it here first, so please think before you post, and make sure to give proper spoiler warnings for anything you write, ideally hiding anything spoiler-related in spoiler tags. There's a little "SP" button in the dashboard for that, two spots over from the "Insert Geek Link" drop-down menu.

So what exactly is spoiler-related?
...
2. The contents of all the smaller envelopes, especially envelope X and everything that entails. Seriously, let people discover this on their own. I would strongly prefer you not discuss clues related to envelope X at all in the forums. If someone really wants help, talk through GeekMail.


About Evelope X specifically, he has said the following:

(quote in spoiler tags because, well, spoilers)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Quote:
It goes without saying that [reward] are highly secret, and I would greatly appreciate you leave it that way and allow others to find it on their own. Please don’t post anything about this on BoardGameGeek, Reddit, or wherever else you talk about board games. Don’t ruin other people’s fun!


So that’s the wishes of the designer. Anyone, including Issac, is welcome to pop in to clarify or elaborate. I thought it was important to know that there is a social prohibition against what I’m doing. Obviously I don’t agree with it. I’m happy to take that discussion to some other thread so people can participate in a freeform exchange of ideas without worrying about all the spoiler business. If you feel strongly in support of these ideas, then I encourage you not to proceed any further in this thread.

One other brief note, I’ll be monitoring this thread for a few days in case there are mistakes that people catch that I can correct. I won’t be adding to or participating in any discussion here. If anyone wants to start a sister thread to discuss stuff like the weight of designer intent, I’m happy to hash it out there. My hope is not to incentivize people spoiling things that they’d otherwise prefer not to just because they’re worried about missing out on other discussion.
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Nathan Ehlers
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Part 0: SPOILERS!

Okay gang, I can not stress this enough.

EVERYTHING AFTER THIS IS FULL OF SPOILERS

Including:

PICTURES OF SECRETS!
HIDDEN PARTS OF THE GAME!
HIDDEN PARTS OF THOSE PARTS!
MORE PICTURES!


Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. I don’t want anyone to be sad about spoiling things they care about. I just want these available to people who don’t care about that surprise. DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE SPOILED ON ENVELOPE X!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
For real, don't’ keep clicking these things unless you want to be spoiled.

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Nathan Ehlers
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Part 0.5: An Alternative Primer

Spoiler (click to reveal)
For those working through Envelope X that want a more "hints oriented" break down without answers, Morthai Saichor wrote a solid series here. My primer nests the various pieces of information but eventually reveals all the answers.


Part 1: Envelope X

What’s in Envelope X?

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Envelope X is one of the sealed envelopes in Gloomhaven. It’s unlocked through completing one of two personal quests: Vengeance and Finding the Cure. Both quests require accumulating a set number of occurrences and then completing a special unlocked scenario.



Inside Envelope X is this card:



This cipher is decoded using a postcard sized key that was originally a kickstarter exclusive, and then later appeared in all 2nd edition copies of the game. Here’s the key:



When deciphered, the card reads:

We call from the dust-from the aged bones of those you have killed. Speak our name into his web and we will be free. 10 clues you must find/ 10 letters to our name. Here is our first: B

So Envelope X points you to a ten letter anagram and gives you the first letter of the puzzle. You’re then required to locate the individual puzzles that each reveal one of the letters, then decipher the anagram. Finally, you have to figure out what to do with that answer.

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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 2A: What are the letters? (LOCATION HINTS ONLY VERSION)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There’s probably not a “right” way to find the letters, so I’ll just go in the order kind of groups similar puzzles together. I’ve tried to layer solutions so if you’re working through and need some help, but don’t want the final letter, it’s buried under several click throughs. All of these solutions require the decoder from above.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 2-5: Where’s Waldo?
There are four letters hidden in the graphics of the game


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 6-7. Letters in Scenarios

There are two scenarios whose conclusion involves a code that reveals a letter.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 8-9. Letters in Events

There are two codes hidden in road events that reveal letters.

One of which contains a typo confirmed by the designer which can be looked up in the Erata faq



Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letter 10. Letter in a chest

The final letter is given in a code locked in a chest in Scenario 76: Harrower’s Hive.





Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 2B: What are the letters? (FULL ANSWERS)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There’s probably not a “right” way to find the letters, so I’ll just go in the order kind of groups similar puzzles together. I’ve tried to layer solutions so if you’re working through and need some help, but don’t want the final letter, it’s buried under several click throughs. All of these solutions require the decoder from above. (Remember Letter 1 is “B” from Envelope X)


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 2-5: Where’s Waldo?
There are four letters hidden in the graphics of the game:


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Skull Ring - An item found in one of the chests from Scenario 4: Crypt of the Damned.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “A”


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Hidden on the northern edge of the map near the Gloomhaven box.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “M”


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Stone Golem - One of the monster chits that turns up in various scenarios.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “L”


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Sawbones - A character class unlocked through a couple of personal quests. The headband of the character art has a letter.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “E”


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 6-7. Letters in Scenarios

There are two scenarios whose conclusion involves a code that reveals a letter.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 15: Shrine of Strength

At the end you get this:



Which translates to:

Search for the rise of the decoder ring. Look to the end of word 11 on line 3.

It’s a puzzle that requires you to google for an article the designer wrote on codes and puzzles. When viewed on a computer monitor (it’s a little wonky on mobile).

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “D”


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenarios #41 and #42: The Voice

The end of the Voice storyline gets you a sticker and a new code. It doesn’t matter what you choose in the end and these two scenarios are exclusive to each other. Both give the same code:



Translates:

The Creator has made a request for our spoils. The Twelfth letter holds the key.

This is another riddle. The first part is a red herring. The solution is in the riddle itself. User Shadrach also pointed out to me that you can find the solution by digging into the designer's post about spoilers.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “A”


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 8-9. Letters in Events

There are two codes hidden in road events that reveal letters.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Event 46:



It translates to:

The ruins of the deep take shape.

This phrase is a reference to Scenario 23: Deep Ruins. The puzzle is the symbol the map tiles make.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “W”


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Event 36:



It translates to:

Record the page, the word, and the letter - 834

IMPORTANT - this is actually a typo confirmed by the designer. The first digit in that number should be a 6, not an 8.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “R“


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letter 10. Letter in a chest

The final letter is given in a code locked in a chest in Scenario 76: Harrower’s Hive. The code is:



It translates to:

We burrow deep, but the central clue cannot be found. It is lost to us. The only thing left to do is ask the creator directly. Send him “dust” and nothing else.

I will admit that we solved the puzzle without this clue. I’ve been told that if you email the designer the word “dust” he’ll reply with the letter.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Letter it reveals is “S“



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Nathan Ehlers
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 3: The Anagram and the Solution

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Okay, so now we have these letters:

B A M L E D A W R S


Spoiler (click to reveal)
I have to confess that I’m not good at anagrams. There’s probably a clever, mathy way to figure it out. I tried to plug them into a scrabble dictionary, but the word isn’t real. However, it is made up of real words and so after staring at possible multi-word solutions, I hit on the answer.

The solution to the puzzle is

Spoiler (click to reveal)
“Bladeswarm”






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Nathan Ehlers
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 4: What’s Next?

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Soooo...now what? This is another riddle hinted at in the text of envelope X. Luckily for me someone in that previous solutioning thread straight up explained what to do.

[q="Morthai" @ https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27529843#27529843]

- you can try your solution here:
http://www.cephalofair.com/"WRITE YOUR SOLUTION HERE"
[/q]


Spoiler (click to reveal)
If you go to http://www.cephalofair.com/bladeswarm you’ll be rewarded with the big prize.


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Nathan Ehlers
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 5: The Big Prize

Spoiler (click to reveal)
As of writing this, if you go to that link, you’ll be rewarded with this image:



And a link to download a .pdf[ of the character, Bladeswarm.

Here’s a couple captures of the webpage:





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Nathan Ehlers
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 6: My P’n’P


Spoiler (click to reveal)
I went ahead and printed the files. They’re pretty well done and come out very close to the game materials if done on a decent printer with good quality paper. Here’s some pics:









I also crafted up a mini to add to the rest of the minis in the game. Wouldn’t you know it? Just as I was taking this, I dropped him and broke the little iconic helmet piece and one of the swords. I’ll post a different pick once I get him glued back together.





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Victor Ferreira
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Thank you so much for this.

When I first saw what you get for going through all of this, I was MASSIVELY disappointed. It did not nearly warrant such tedium and secrecy, not one bit. I did decide that I like it after all, but the whole process to get to it left an awful taste in my mouth, and I would have been much happier to get it if I hadn't had to go through all of that unnecessary mess.

You are a saint, and I hope nobody craps on this thread or on you.
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Nathan Ehlers
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Thanks!

If anyone catches mistakes, typos, or other errors, please let me know and I'll update it. Especially if you're clicking through everything. It was a long document and lots of bgg tags to get everything right.
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Josh
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I'll email you a comment about one of the things you've got a touch wrong. And one suggestion for the thread.

 
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 5, you have typed bladewarm. Missing the s. Minor typo.
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Nathan Ehlers
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Thanks for the corrections. Updating them now...
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Josh
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Here you go, This is the edited version you requested, slot it in before the detailed explanation post. Also if you could edit in the alternate solution I found for that one clue it'd be funny to be immortalized for doing something the hard way.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 2a: What are the letters? HINTS ONLY VERSION

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There’s probably not a “right” way to find the letters, so I’ll just go in the order kind of groups similar puzzles together. I’ve tried to layer solutions so if you’re working through and need some help, but don’t want the final letter, it’s buried under several click throughs. All of these solutions require the decoder from above.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 2-4: Where’s Waldo?
There are four letters hidden in the graphics of the game


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 6-7. Letters in Scenarios

There are two scenarios whose conclusion involves a code that reveals a letter.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letters 8-9. Letters in Events

There are two codes hidden in road events that reveal letters.

One of which contains a typo confirmed by the designer which can be looked up in the Erata faq



Spoiler (click to reveal)
Letter 10. Letter in a chest

The final letter is given in a code locked in a chest in Scenario 76: Harrower’s Hive.



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Twilight_Sonata wrote:
Thank you so much for this.

Ditto. I got part way through process & decided no reward was worth the drudgery and bailed. I'm glad people have fun with it and I'm glad people that don't have fun with it don't have to endure it.
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Nathan Ehlers
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Updated with the "hints only" add. Thanks, Josh!
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Miles Hubble
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Please delete this. This is a reward for completing something. Posting every step in detail, and especially releasing the files of the reward publicly, destroy not only any fun sense of secrecy but also ruins the entire premise of this mystery. No one should be able to access this without obtaining it legitimately. Get rid of this.
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Uberdemnebelmeer wrote:
Please delete this. This is a reward for completing something. Posting every step in detail, and especially releasing the files of the reward publicly, destroy not only any fun sense of secrecy but also ruins the entire premise of this mystery. No one should be able to access this without obtaining it legitimately. Get rid of this.


Perhaps we can put the classes in locked titanium chests next time, and you have to mail proof of completing a quest to get the key in order to open the lock on the box in your copy of the game. Wouldn't want someone cheating and opening a box they didn't obtain legitimately.

Tl;dr: If people want to spoil themselves let them, it's their game. OP has hidden everything behind spoilers.
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Uberdemnebelmeer wrote:
Please delete this. This is a reward for completing something. Posting every step in detail, and especially releasing the files of the reward publicly, destroy not only any fun sense of secrecy but also ruins the entire premise of this mystery. No one should be able to access this without obtaining it legitimately. Get rid of this.

Emphasis added:

sirgalin wrote:
I thought it was important to know that there is a social prohibition against what I’m doing. Obviously I don’t agree with it. I’m happy to take that discussion to some other thread so people can participate in a freeform exchange of ideas without worrying about all the spoiler business. If you feel strongly in support of these ideas, then I encourage you not to proceed any further in this thread.

One other brief note, I’ll be monitoring this thread for a few days in case there are mistakes that people catch that I can correct. I won’t be adding to or participating in any discussion here. If anyone wants to start a sister thread to discuss stuff like the weight of designer intent, I’m happy to hash it out there. My hope is not to incentivize people spoiling things that they’d otherwise prefer not to just because they’re worried about missing out on other discussion.

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Miles Hubble
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Another thread won’t change anything. This one should not exist. Isaac himself said he was disappointed in people getting pm’d the answer in the old thread, but that’s nowhere near as bad as this one! You’ve essentially given everyone access to a super secret reward that they haven’t earned. Shame on you.
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that Matt
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Uberdemnebelmeer wrote:
Another thread won’t change anything. This one should not exist. Isaac himself said he was disappointed in people getting pm’d the answer in the old thread, but that’s nowhere near as bad as this one! You’ve essentially given everyone access to a super secret reward that they haven’t earned. Shame on you.

Isaac is free to unilaterally dictate the terms of discussion on http://www.cephalofair.com/.
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Uberdemnebelmeer wrote:
Another thread won’t change anything. This one should not exist. Isaac himself said he was disappointed in people getting pm’d the answer in the old thread, but that’s nowhere near as bad as this one! You’ve essentially given everyone access to a super secret reward that they haven’t earned. Shame on you.

Turns out Isaac can’t control the internet! Who knew?!? Now please take your thoughts to a discussion thread. Thanks.
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Victor Ferreira
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Uberdemnebelmeer wrote:
Isaac himself said he was disappointed in people getting pm’d the answer in the old thread, but that’s nowhere near as bad as this one!

Well I'm disappointed in Isaac for including such an awful "puzzle" in the game to begin with, so I guess we're even. What you get for going through all of this is not that special, certainly not enough for anyone, Isaac included, to make this a big deal.
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Uberdemnebelmeer wrote:
Another thread won’t change anything. This one should not exist. Isaac himself said he was disappointed in people getting pm’d the answer in the old thread, but that’s nowhere near as bad as this one! You’ve essentially given everyone access to a super secret reward that they haven’t earned. Shame on you.

I've completed the entire campaign and all of the side quests that we unlocked....and two clues were still locked. While I eventually figured it out based on another thread and sifting through locked material, I wish this thread would've existed a few days earlier.

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