Over the last couple of weeks I've been involved in an interesting email discussion involving ways to more closely integrate props into both tabletop and live-action gaming. One of the ways to do that is to make the prop itself, in particular a prop document, a clue that moves the story along.
This is, I think, an intriguing example of that idea. About ten years ago I was heavily into the "Hellraiser" mythos and produced a number of prop parchments purporting to be folio pages from the design book of Phillip LeMarchand, the original creator of the puzzle box featured in the first few films. I eventually quit offering them when a dealer scanned the whole lot and was offering bootleg prints for far less than I could afford to make them, but before I gave it up I produced one final design. I still think it was probably the best prop I've ever produced. Why? Because the entire thing was a puzzle.
Below you'll find a picture of the parchment's artwork, crude as it was, so you can take a crack at it if you're so inclined. Hidden within this final folio page is a date in the 1700's when a particular ritual was performed, at least according to the backstory I developed for it. Over the next few days I'll post some clues to figuring it out before I give out the final solution, but I've put a few pointers in the text below to help you along. Click on the picture to view the full-sized version.
Pointers (Highlight to read)
1. The puzzle uses a cipher appropriate to the 1700's.
2. It also uses a cipher wildly inappropriate to the 1700's.
3. Look to the stars.
Update: In response to a few emails, no, this isn't an April Fools joke. Although it would be pretty damn cool if solving the puzzle actually did open the gateway to Leviathan's realm. "Ha ha, April fools," he said, as razor sharp hooks whipped through the air.
There are also some anachronisms in both the language and techniques of the puzzle, as well as some outright errors in the French. These days I would spend more time vetting things like that.
Some more pointers (Highlight to read)
1. The first word is the key.
2. Telegraph for Mr. LeMarchand!
3. You can spend a lot of time trying to decode something that means nothing.
Update: Some pretty hefty pointers (Highlight to read)
1. Leviathan has the faculty of discovering arcane secrets in all the courts and council-chambers of the world; he also unveils the most sublime mysteries.
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