Event E2/Proposal B licker

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Four Ocean Crypto-hunt
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A cryptographic contest where pirates exchange encrypted clues, solve the cryptogram, find the secret buildings, and figure out where to go on the next ocean, eventually visiting all 4 oceans.

Player Profile Timeline
Audience Anyone who enjoys solving cryptograms Elapsed time 2-3 hours
Unit of Entry Individual Participant Time 2-3 hours
Expected Participation 50 pirates is the suggested audience size. There is no true limit to participation, but some adjustments are necessary if the number of participants doesn't match the number of clues. Judging Time Instantaneous
Platform All 4 oceans (Midnight, Cobalt, Viridian, Sage)


Event Description

Event Start: Starting on Midnight Ocean, players will be jobbed aboard a grand frigate. They must also create an account (username and password) on the event website. At the start of the contest, each player will be given a single clue (referred to as a player clue) via the website. Some clues will be encrypted words like: "SDFHG TERTSD", while other clues will be hints on how to decode the cryptogram, like "S=e". The player's task is to collect as many clues as they can from other players in order to get enough information to decode the cryptogram.

Trading clues: While aboard the grand frigate, a player may exchange clues with others on the frigate. A player can trade clues with another player by initiating a trade request. In this case, they simply exchange one clue for one clue. Two players may trade clues with each other as many times as they like until one person chooses to reject the trade request.

A player may also try to steal one clue from another player by beating them in a swordfight or drinking game and not have to give away one of their own. But they risk giving up one of their clues with nothing in return if they lose. A player may challenge the same person up to 4 times: twice at swordfighting and twice at drinking, and the challenged player has the right to refuse any two of those challenges. The four challenges do not have to happen all at once.

To get a clue from someone, a player simply tells them the number of the clue they want, and that person must return the one closest to the one asked for. If the clue they receive is one they already have, they may not request a different one. When a player receives a clue from someone, they must confirm it using the website to make sure no one is being dishonest. The website will also keep track of which clues the player has collected during the event.

A player may not ignore someone's challenge or trade request while aboard the grand frigate. They must respond within 30 secs or, if they're already busy with another player, ask for extra time. If a player does not wish to be disturbed while working on clues, they should disembark from the frigate.

Solving the cryptogram: Once a player has collected enough information to decipher the cryptogram, the clues will direct them to 12 different buildings on 3 islands on Midnight. All 3 islands will be in the same archipelago as the Grand Frigate, so no whisking is required. The player must visit each of the buildings and go to the website to answer a question about that building. If they answer the question correctly, they will then receive another encrypted clue (referred to as a building clue). Building clues will use the same cipher as the player clues. Collect all the building clues to determine which 3 islands on Cobalt Ocean to visit. If the player is not in the correct building, they will receive a dummy clue to throw them off the trail. Players may also exchange building clues aboard the grand frigate in the same manner that they exchange player clues.

Moving on to the next oceans: Once a player thinks they know which islands on Cobalt to visit, they must visit the website and check their answer. They have 3 chances to enter the correct islands or they will be kicked out of the contest. Once they enter the correct islands, they will be given a new player clue and the name of the Cobalt game master. They must log into Cobalt and send a tell to the Cobalt game master to be jobbed aboard the grand frigate. On Cobalt, the player will exchange player clues in the same manner as on Midnight. The trading and challenge limits also reset when a player switches oceans, so if they challenged someone 4 times on Midnight, they may challenge that person 4 more times on Cobalt. The player clues and building clues on Cobalt will use a different cipher than the ones on Midnight. Solve the player clues on Cobalt, discover the 12 buildings on Cobalt, solve the building clues, and discover the 3 islands on Viridian. Solve the player clues on Viridian, discover the 8 buildings on Viridian, solve the building clues, and discover the 2 islands on Sage. Solve the player clues on Sage, discover the 4 buildings on Sage, solve the building clues, and discover the final secret location which may be on any island on any ocean. (Building/island numbers subject to change)

Miscellaneous: The event must be run on a day where players may do SF and drinking challenges for free on both subscription and doubloon oceans. There will be a "good sportsmanship" rule where players who appear to be lying about clues, refusing clue exchanges, or otherwise being a barrelstopper will be planked from the contest at the discretion of the game master. In this case, their player clue will be announced to everyone over event crew chat. Ten minutes after a player advances to the next ocean, their old player clue will be announced to everyone else who has not yet advanced so the others don't get stuck without clues. Any player that logs off or disconnects without completing the current ocean will have their player clue announced to everyone after five minutes. Collusion in this event is actually encouraged since the clues will be designed so that many clues must be obtained in order to solve the cryptogram and advance to the next ocean. If there are more player clues than players, players will receive multiple player clues to start. If there are more players than player clues, then some players will receive duplicate clues.


First person to find the final secret location wins, and anyone who finishes within 30 minutes of the first person also receives a prize.


1st place receives 42 doubloons (which may also be used to buy a one month subscription) and a signet ring. 2nd-3rd place receive a sloop on their ocean of choice and a fancy ribbon. Anyone finishing within 30 minutes of the 1st place winner receives 1000 PoE on their ocean of choice and a ribbon. The first person to reach Cobalt ocean will receive a blue clam shell, the first to Viridian will receive an aqua clam shell, and the first to Sage will receive a lime clam shell.

Help Required

Volunteer Assistance

1 or 2 volunteers will be needed on each ocean to serve as game masters. It isn't necessary to have volunteers on all four oceans simultaneously, probably only 2 oceans at a time. Thus, a total of 2 to 4 volunteers are needed.

OM Assistance

A Grand Frigate is needed on each of the oceans as a meeting place where contestants can exchange clues. I don't have the resources to provide such a ship on every ocean. However, I only need to borrow the ship for a few hours. Trinket prizes also need to be provided by an OM.

Workshop Coaching

The most difficult part of event preparation will be writing clues that are well balanced. The goal is for it to be impossible to solve the cryptogram using only a small portion of the clues. On the other hand, there needs to be some way for individuals or small groups to get ahead on the later oceans so that an actual winner can be determined. During the actual event, the primary difficulty will be divying volunteer tasks and scheduling volunteer time across the different oceans, i.e. knowing when to start the Viridian portion and end the Midnight portion. I could also use some advice on how to prevent the winner from just giving away the answer, perhaps something along the lines of JPC's Pictorial Puzzlement contest, where the winners must explain how they solved the clues.


Previous Similar Events

None that I'm aware of.


Events which I have personally organized include: mini bilging bakeoffs on Midnight and Cobalt, a duty nav test event, and an upcoming duty nav familiar event. My flag, Looterati, also has a history of running numerous unique and creative events, and can help provide support in terms of volunteers and prizes.