Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wasting an Afternoon on the Puzzles in The Secret Fire

I love a good puzzle, but I'm afraid this book might be too much for me. I'm also immensely frustrated from the past week at work, and I'm in sort of a crabby mood, so my puzzle solving acumen might not be up to snuff at the moment. Some scattered thoughts:

On page 307 is located a cypher. I can't seem to translate the passages on the front page using the cipher, because I know that the Greek letters don't totally map to English. One word I seemed to be able to translate is Stilico, who turns out to be some kind of general from antiquity.

I've solved some of the number puzzles, but I don't know what to do with the answers.

Some of the illustrations are coded with letters that can be deciphered from page 307. The last four in the book are NTSG, I think. Not sure what the letter codes have to do with the answers or the puzzles.

Certain illustrations are repeated throughout the book.

The artwork seems to have a rather morbid repeated theme of severed, often skeletal, heads.

A small symbol appears on certain page numbers. It never appears after page 208.

The book features several instances of magic squares.

I don't know. I've seen other bloggers mention the puzzles, but so far as I can tell, nobody has taken a serious crack at them.

I also have a question about how damage works, but given how likely I am to ever actually run this's probably not vital that I get it answered.

I end this note with a little "gaming gallows humor" from my friend Glenn, whose gaming wisdom I have oft quoted on this here blog:

Glenn's Second Law of Gaming Groups: You likelihood of getting to run a game is inversely proportional to your enthusiasm for it.

Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go back to failing at translation.


  1. I've had a half-hearted go at these with some success. One clue I can give is "QR codes" which gave me heaps of grief, given that I don't own a mobile device capable of reading these. Not that the results helped much since they could almost be random quotes from a new age self-help book.

    Since the author states that unlocking the secrets will unlock bonus material, I'm guessing that the numbers may end up being an IP address.

    I'm starting to suspect that the bonus material won't be related to the RPG, but instead be something to do with the author's obvious passion for his Appendix C subject matter - and that would be incredibly disappointing.

    If you want to compare notes Ryan, email me at trowuttatwo at


  2. I will shoot you an email this week.

    ...also, I have no idea what a QR code is. I'm thoroughly stuck in the 90's, pining for Netscape on my little square Apple in the computer lab...

  3. Considering there are a ton of typos in that book it wouldn't surprise me if you literally cannot decipher the puzzles either. What if there are errors in them?

  4. I think you just caused me a mini-aneurysm, Anon.

  5. so i know its been a few months but has anyone figured out any of the puzzles?

  6. Not that I know of. I also lost interest in TSF long ago...I'm not even sure where my copy is anymore.

  7. @Anonymous - send me an email to the address in the first comment and I'll mail you what I sent to Ryan. I too have lost interest after the game failed to live up to the hype and after a couple of dozen revisions to the original document so far.

    Dave aka austrodavicus

  8. Dave-
    I'm sorry I never got back to you. The Secret Fire turned out to be an incredible disappointment for me...a real waste of time and cash. I'd sell my copy if I could even be bothered to look for it. I have a smartphone now (finally) and I don't even care to scan the QR boxes.