The Let's Play Archive


by Nakar

Part 33: Level Two: Dated References

Level Two: Dated References

The puzzle is, in fact, solvable without needing the hint as to the exact number of sheep and goats. This is because, as Tenebrais noted, the rules would be broken otherwise.

The way I looked at it was to examine each rule and see what consequences they'd have on each other rule. The first two say goats > sheep, so at the very least the distribution is 9 > 7. Skip the third for a second and the fourth says Gattar receives more goats than his cousin, so at least 5 > 4. He receives more sheep than goats by the third rule and his cousin receives at least one by the fifth, leaving a distribution of 6 > 1 as the only possible answer. Changing the distribution any other way would violate a rule. That's lucky on our part; if the puzzle were more complex, multiple solutions could've existed and knowing the exact number of livestock would've been necessary. For this one, however, we don't actually need to know it ahead of time -- but by knowing it, we can check our work, and everything adds up. Now let's tell the sheik that.

First, Gattar will receive six sheep.

The sheik begins to look as if he regrets allowing Gattar to bring in a ringer. "And how many goats will Gattar receive?"

That's five goats.

The sheik sighs and fingers his beard. "How many sheep will Gattar's cousin receive?"

Just one.

The sheik looks upset. You decide that you had better leave as soon as this is over. "And the number of goats to be given to this man's cousin?


The sheik turns to a warrior who stands beside him. "Go to the shepherd, Haroun. Tell him to bring the flock. As for you, Frank..."

But Gattar has already hustled you outside. "You must go," he says in a low voice. "The sheik is not pleased. But I promised to help you, so remember this: The palace of the khan is girded by seven perils. To enter, you must cross one. But, to each person, all but one of the perils are deadly: one destroys all but the pious, another all but the wise, and so forth. To enter the palace, you must learn each peril's nature, and your own nature as well, to determine which you may cross." You have a hundred questions, but Gattar insists this is all he knows of Osmet's seat.

Fair enough. We can piece together a bit of this puzzle already, if we've been paying attention to some of our hints. These must be clues as to which of Osmet's palace defenses corresponds to which aspect of a person's nature. Hopefully by the time we arrive at the palace we'll have some idea of what each peril tests, and which test we can pass.

But that won't matter if we can't actually reach the place, so we're off into a new maze! No, I don't know why it's 8x7; the game just sometimes seems to be going rectangular on us from time to time. There's a PoP here that's quite out of the way; it's easy to miss, and while it isn't a major consequential place, it does offer one of the very hints I just mentioned we needed to accumulate.

I must say, I wasn't expecting this out of the game.

You come to the sea; the desert terminates in a last line of dunes, and then there is water, extending to the horizon... Horizon. You wonder about the geography of the MadMaze. It is aptly named. As you stare seaward, a crab pulls itself onto the beach and scrabbles across the sand toward you. You feel rather hungry.

We could kill and eat the crab if we wished (all the game would say is It is delicious), but I suspect there's some significance to this beyond a free lunch. Let's talk to it.

"Hola, Master Crab," you say. "What brings you to these sandy shores?" It doesn't respond. What did you expect of a crustacean?

...I don't know. But I suppose there's no harm in just watching it for a moment longer before we make a meal of it.

As you watch, the crab scuttles across the sand in a complex pattern. You realize that the line it leaves in the sand forms letters, and the letters words. This is the crab's message:

Only the wise may cross the River of Brass.

You shake your head, not knowing what to make of this. The crab scuttles back into the surf.

It's something, at least. What it means I have no idea yet, but clearly there'll be a River of Brass at Osmet's palace that we should watch out for, if we're wise (or is it not watch out for if we're wise?).

Onward to the exit of the maze, where we find this lovely vessel.

It is a lamp. An oil lamp, with a spout and a handle. A lamp that badly needs polishing...

I mean, we can't not do this.

As you rub the lamp, smoke begins to pour from the funnel. The smoke gradually forms into the shape of:

At this point, all of our options will lead us to the same spot, as the djinn is in full control of this situation.

Demand Three Wishes: The djinn laughs heartily. The sound booms out across the desert. "Ho ho, for sixteen centuries have I lain in this lamp; for sixteen hundred years have I studied its tarnished brass interior. I have not the slightest inclination to grant you even a single wish, manling. Perhaps I shall torment you instead."

Flee: You turn tail to run from this apparition, but do not run far before you are plucked bodily from the ground and drawn through the air. The djinn places you to the earth before him once more. "Where are you going, manling?" he inquires sweetly. "We have only just begun to play."

Attack: The djinn laughs heartily as you thrust the Sword Valterre through his torso. You hack, and hack gain, but to no avail; the apparition's form reshapes after each stroke of the sword. You realize this is futile. "Ah," says the djinn, "this is entertainment indeed."

Greet Him Politely: "Well met, o djinn," you say. The apparition only glares at you. "For sixteen centuries have I lain in this lamp; for sixteen hundred years have I studied its tarnished brass interior. At first, said I: 'I shall be so grateful to my rescuer that I shall grant him his every desire.' But that passed, and I said: 'All men are foul, for a man imprisoned me; I shall slay my deliverer.' But that passed, too. Instead, I shall have my way with you."

"And if I refuse to answer?"

The djinn grows rapidly, towering into the sky above you; he is terrible in his wrath. "Then I shall turn you into a red smear on the sands!"

Alright, guess we haven't got much choice then. I don't consider this a full puzzle, but I will put the solution below in spoilers if you want to see how many you can recall. Kind of easy if you cheat and reference back in the LP, of course, which is why I'm not leaving off on this puzzle.

"My first question," says the djinn. "Who is your king?"

The djinn grimaces. "Two races live in this desert land. What are their names?"

The djinn looks rather disgruntled. "Very well. And what is the name of your native village?"

He frowns mightily. "All right, the elder of your village, eh? What is his name?"

"Bah," says the djinn. "The name of this land's ruler?"

The djinn is growing enraged. "Fine! Very well! Fine, I say! And his ancestor, who conquered the desert?"

He is practically quavering with anger now. He manages to choke out another question: "And Osmet's vizier? What of him?" You hesitate, and the djinn begins to smile, but then you answer...

The djinn is as dark as a thundercloud. You begin to fear for your life, but you have no choice: You must continue. "Finally," spits the djinn, "what is the Black Knight's name?"

1) Carlon
2) Atarri & Tercelidae
3) Weith
4) Wellan
5) Osmet
6) Chugotai
7) Aboud
8) Gonzaga

Provided every one of those was answered correctly, we're... rewarded... with the djinn blowing his top.

The djinn is so angry he is red -- glowing red -- like the red of heated metal. "Only the pure in heart may pass through the Wall of Flame," he grates out, spitting flame himself. He vibrates with anger. He is so enraged that he explodes... Literally.

The blast hurtles you to the desert sand. When you look up, long streamers of fire are shooting through the sky far away. Smoke hangs where the djinn once stood. You pick yourself up, gentle your horse, and continue on your journey.

Well... that was... different. I suppose we got lucky that we upset him just enough. Next maze!

Back to regulation size, and to the standard optional-and-mandatory PoP setup. There's two puzzles this time, so we'll only be seeing the optional PoP. Although this puzzle is... something.

A great gash splits the world. Its depths lie far below. Fog hides all but a hint of the far side. The rocks of the chasm wall are broken and jagged. It is spanned by a simple, fraying rope bridge. The floor of the brdige consists of boards, tied cross-wise to the ropes that span the chasm. Several boards are broken and hanging by threads.

This looks perfectly safe, so let's cross.

You cross the bridge, leading your mount. A board breaks beneath the horse's hoof, but he nervously retains his footing on the bridge. It sways as you walk across it. You are nearly as nervous as your horse. The slightest disturbance, and you will plunge into the mist-shrouded chasm below.

Suddenly, a great voice booms out all around you. The horse nearly shies at the sound. "WHAT..." says the voice.

I'll need an answer to this. But since we're here, and since the pattern is obvious enough, here are the remaining questions.

Yes, that IS a text prompt.

Yeah, good luck with this.

Alternate Solutions & Deaths

Assuming we didn't get the answer to the riddle right, it'd play out like so:

The sheik smiles. "No," he says, "that is not it." Gattar is downcast. Dejected, the two of you leave the sheik's tent. You apologize to the Atarri, but he waves the apology away. "I thank you for the attempt, though it be doomed to failure. In truth, I fear the puzzle may be unsolvable. Should you return with a solution, however, I shall be forever in your debt."

Curiously enough, if we refuse the djinn's offer or answer his questions incorrectly, he won't kill us. Instead, just as promised, he'll warp us away.

"Fool," says the djinn. Somehow, the word sounds almost affectionate. You blink, and instantly you are elsewhere...

This sends you to another maze earlier in the route, I believe, though I'm not sure which one offhand.