CG_SBCrumb has become known to create event teasers when announcing new events. These teasers have become more intricate and have used cipher's to decode them.
- 1 Jango Fett
- 2 Chewbacca
- 3 Jedi Knight Revan
- 4 C-3PO
- 5 Millennium Falcon
- 6 Darth Malak
Jedi Knight Revan
A Road Ahead was announced on October 5th, 2018. In it contained a teaser, 2 images written in Aurebesh.
The pyramid and the other image is a cipher. The teaser used the Playfair cipher which is translated to OTXYMNONOEUQOZTMOCXGVRHNXIEUTMCKUMKYDMUKBATK. Which is ultimately converted to THEROADAHEADISCOMINGSOXONTHEWAITWILXLBEWORTHITBITLYNAVERIDEJ.
Part of the conversion is a URL - bit.ly/naveridej (jedi revan backwards). This ultimately linked to a Jedi Revan trailer.
This teaser started with two clues from forums posts.
The bottom left of CB_SBCrumbs photo had a color bar. If you convert that color bar from hexadecimal to ascii, it produces this URL - https://goo.gl/4HXR42. When you go to that URL, it'll download a JPG, however the format of the file isn't an image. If you take the binary from the file and convert it to ASCII, you get a lot of numbers and letters with "[K:C major clef=alto] [L:1/16] [M:none]" at the beginning. This was discovered to use the Solfa Cipher which is used to encode a message into music. The song from the YouTube video was actually the encoded message. The Solfa Cipher requires a key to decrypt it and one way to set the key is with a date. Using the date in the title of the forum post - 12/14/2018, the key was found to be Clef:Treble Tonic:A Mode:Dorian Unit:1/16th.
With this, you can begin to decode the cipher. The output from the cipher was more numbers and letters that had a pattern of a number, followed by an X, followed by hexadecimal. It was discovered that you repeat the hex for the number in front of it, and covert the hex to color, it would start to draw a picture. Parts of the image started appearing to look like C-3PO
This was solved in just under 3 hours.
Episode 1: The original post
Found here, the original post contained a body of text, a table and a file which had a deconstructed dial in Aurebesh.
Filling out the table was completed very quickly, as was translating the dial. After that, using the table to read the dial was the obvious route but as it involved printing the dial (or finding some good editing software?) and doing some solving manually, this took some time. Thanks to one member on the forums, it was solved to be "Scoundrels4life".
By this point many had guessed it meant the OT Falcon would be coming and require scoundrels to unlock, but we needed to find the solution to the main body of text.
The main issue with decrypting the main body of text was that we didn't have any clue on how it had been encrypted. Some of it read like a poem that was introducing the challenge but some of it was clearly nonsense. Lots of people tried lots of things such as looking for anagrams, different ciphers, taking out names of scoundrels and their ships, reversing the dial to find a string of numbers for some code, but it wasn't until Crumb gave us another clue that we found out the next step.
Episode 2: What's cooking?
Crumb posted a picture of a piglet with the accompanying clue: I've just woke up and having my breakfast but all I can think about is getting more of this guy.
The hint was taken and people began to look for a solution using Bacon's cipher. Using this, each letter in a body of text is replaced by an A or a B which gives a string of As and Bs, these are grouped up into sets of 5 and using the chart for the bacon cipher, turned back into lettters (e.g. a set of ababa would become L). The issue for this was finding what criteria we needed to use to turn the text into As or Bs. We initially looked at many different possibilities such as changing letters from Scounderlsfourlife to As and the rest to Bs but eventually Crumb took pity on us and told us it was much more simple than we were trying to find.
After this second clue, someone tried using A-M = A, N-Z = B which gave a string of As and Bs which was decrypted Lone_Starr to give: N E V E R T E L L M E T H E O D D S T H R E E S E V E N T W O Z E R O O N E A T G M A I L D O T C O M D
Note: whilst we were still working on the bacon's cipher criteria, Crumb also posted :More Bacon then I get to the weekly word search in the newspaper (https://forums.galaxy-of-heroes.starwars.ea.com/discussion/192073/new-clue/p12) which hinted that a future element would be a word-search.
Episode 3: The bugged account
After solving the bacon's cipher and the table/dial we had [] and Scoundrels4life. Someone quickly found out we could use these to log into the official forums which came up with an account with which Crumb had posted in the bug report section.
Title: I haz bugs. Text: You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive! File: 102chars.txt (https://us.v-cdn.net/6025736/uploads/editor/ko/qyyzca0odp7e.txt)
The text seemed to refer to Bounty Hunters (scoundrels) and the title of the post made us think the clue might have errors in it.
By this point, the discord channel was going into overdrive as we tried to work out how we could decrypt the text. After analysing it we found that it could be split up into strings of characters with some key points:
- Strings were 5 or 6 characters long.
- Each string would start with either L, D or C.
- The strings always had 'x' as the 4th character
- After L/D/C was always a number, 1-9 (but C only went up to 8)
- After the first number was always a letter, A-G.
- After X, there was always a number, 1-21
We also found that there were 841 sets of data which we worked out was 29^2 which suggested each set would translate to a letter which would then form a 29x29 word search.
This part was tricky as there were a lot of possibilities. We looked to see if it could be colours, or ASCII code using Hex/Oct/Dec based on C/D/L. We even started looking at using Latin, thinking C,D,L could be 100,500,50 and there are only 21 letters in the Roman alphabet.
Eventually though, someone suggested using C=cantina node, L=light side node, D=darkside node.
From there it was only a few steps to get CDL = type of node, 1-9 and A-G were the specific node in that area, and x1-21 was the number of the letter of the shard it rewarded. e.g. C7Ax4 would be Cantina node 7A, 4th letter of the reward shard character's name ('S' in Mission Vao in this case).
Someone clever wrote a program to convert the 841 sets into letters which ended up giving us the basis for the word-search grid.
Episode 4: The word-search of doom
We created the grid using the letters from solving the clue, but there were a few errors to begin with as a few spaces were blank or seemed wrong. This was due to us not knowing whether to use the shard character names with or without spaces.
A google spreadsheet was created (final result here) to open up the word search to everyone. We thought that the title of the original file (102 chars) meant we had to find the names of 102 star wars characters so we needed all the help we could get.
To begin with we coloured the names we found in red and used different colours where we thought there were letter errors (turned out to be our mistake in translating the code) but we eventually began to change the letters to what they should be and turned everything we found to red.
At this point MobileGamer (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKjqnZEvjlf4TPtt9dmqhYw), who had been watching it for a while (along with Crumb and EVS-469 unbeknownst to us) started a live stream to tell everyone about the breakthrough and the puzzle in general. This was both a blessing and a curse as the document became flooded with people solving it (I shared the document with edit access but it seemed to lock people out after a while, necessitating re-sharing. Not sure what was going on with it - possibly too many users - but sorry about that!). We began to list all the names we found, along with where they were located (L4 down, or AB19 back down for example) so we could check nothing was missed.
Due to all the people finding names we quickly coloured in a lot of the grid but as it started to get messy and a small number of people started trolling we had to restrict access to only a few trusted people. At this point things slowed down as we had to check all the letters in the grid against what the were meant to be (thanks CG_EVS_469 for the confirmation reference table) and check that the correct boxes had been filled in. It took a long while and there a still possibly a couple of minor errors but eventually we found the names. Finding the correct names was tricky as CG_EVS_469 and CG_SBCrumb informed us there were a few we had found that weren't meant to be included (hazards of a large grid with so many unusual names) but we eventually confirmed all the correct names (again thanks CG_EVS_469 for providing the reference of character names).
Episode 5: Wait. There's more?
After finding all the names there were a number of characters left unshaded. Looking at these we identified the names of a number of ships. After being told there were 121 characters (thanks again CG_EVS_469 for the checkpoint) we figured these would fit into an 11x11 grid. We created the grid and populated it to move onto....
Episode 6: The last piece of the puzzle
In the end we had a second word search where the names were all star wars ships.
After colouring in all the letters we were left with an anagram which everyone worked out very quickly unscrambled to give MILLENNIUM FALCON.
We got confirmation on the official forums - "Congratulations - y'all got it! Hope you guys had fun with this one - I've already got some Ideas for next time. >:) - EVS-469"
Episode I - An Unexpected Journey AKA Darth Malak Confirmed
We started here, trying to crack the code. Immediately, we made the connection that the Rugmi being addressed at the beginning of the post was actually a clue for Imgur. In addition, we made the connection that “old techniques” most likely meant Morse code.
To get it ready to go through Morse, we converted each dark side character into a dash and each light side character into a dot.
Decoded, that spelled out “dev3kiy”, which we plugged into the Imgur URL to get imgur.com/dev3kiy, otherwise known as the Darth Malak picture.
Also included in the original post was a piece of text saying “Key Date: 29.1” which was not relevant to this section but would be vital to the next part when we identified it as the date Crumb had made comments on a CubsFanHan stream that were believed to be clues for an upcoming puzzle at the time. We found the comments and used them in the next stage of solving the puzzle.
Episode II - The Desolation of Wrong Ciphers AKA Delving Deeper AKA Looking at the Fine Print
Once we got the image of Darth Malak, we started looking closer into the details. We found Morse code at the top of the lightsaber, as well as boxes in the bottom left and right of the image.
The puzzlemasters then went on to decode the Morse code, getting the result of “BITLY” otherwise known as bit.ly making it known to everyone that we would be looking for a bit.ly URL of some sort.
From there, we left the Morse code alone because we couldn’t do anything else until we attempted to find the rest of the URL. We then went onto the boxes. Each had 3 colors in them, and we got the hex codes for those 3 colors. Then, we converted them to ASCII text, which is where we got the two 9 character strings from.
We knew that the clue “the bees have left the hive and the handkerchief is blue” was important to decoding the ASCII text strings but we didn’t know how.
We figured that the yellow box represented the “hive” part of the section and the blue box was the “handkerchief”. From there we ran into a bit of a wall trying to figure out which cipher would be used.
We tried multiple ciphers, including a Honey cipher due to the clue ‘the bees have left the hive’ and Hill ciphers due to the matrix-style of numbers we had.
Using hints dropped that Crumb’s messages from the previously streamed video were to be applied to the hex codes, we believed that “the bees have left” referred to removing Bs of some sort from the yellow section. This could have been removing any letter Bs from the clue we found, the B that appeared in the Hex results, or the part of the hex codes corresponding to the (B)lue values of the colors in the boxes.
We also noticed that the size of the colored areas in the boxes were different (4x4, 4x4, 4x5 pixels for the yellow section and 3 lots of 3x6 for the blue section). We pursued ideas around this for a while but ultimately, it led nowhere.
There were also a number of ciphers proposed repeatedly in the general clues chat which shall not be named and led down many rabbit holes and false paths. Many of the ciphers and methods that were tried did not work and actually made it more confusing (hence Crumb and Thor telling us we were overthinking it).
Episode III - The Battle of the Five Parts AKA Kit Reveal
We already had the character string from the yellow box, the character string from the blue box, two clues from Crumb’s stream comments and the bit.ly lead. With these five parts, we actually had everything we needed. We just had to find the right solution. All the other aspects that we had found in the picture or from clues and comments proved to be red herrings. By this point, we were about 20 hours in and the Powers That Be magnanimously decided to provide a few extra hints (and a few not so useful ones). It was at this point that CG also released the announcement of Darth Malak’s event to the forums - confirming our findings in the first part meant that Darth Malak was the focus for the puzzle and coming to the game (although no one realized how soon!)
Crumb had previously posted that the character strings from the colored boxes were accurate and CG Thor gave the hint of it being a Vigenere Cipher. Because nothing directly fit as the key. We had previously tried using the bees and handkerchief phrase in conjunction with the character strings but not identified any likely links. Fortunately, Adir returned to this idea and used a running cipher.
Using the running cipher with “the bees have left the hive“ and the character string from the yellow (hive) box “tswrymfxu“ returned “alsquinqu“. Doing the same to the other half gave us “argesimus”.
Adir - more versed in the Lore of Malak - identified that Squinquargesimus was Malak’s homeworld, we googled it and confirmed it. Then, once we added that to the BITLY we got from the morse, we ended up with the link bit.ly/alsquinquargesimus. When we searched it, it directed us to https://us.v-cdn.net/6025736/uploads/editor/0c/pha4vy4fsern.png, which was the picture of Malak’s kit and the final piece of the puzzle.
Lessons learned? Research the lore and respect Occam's Razor!
Puzzlemasters that worked on this (Discord names):
Paul Anthony (Escape Pod cast)