Talk:Merit's Encoded Message

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Hints come in this order

  1. Part of speech
  2. More grammatical details
  3. Etymology
  4. Number of letters
  5. Number of syllables
  6. First letter

Crazy attempt to record wrong guesses per word

Testing wiki formatting. Mouse over WORDs to see what we've already tried in that spot.

Paragraph 1

These are the words I found upon the remains of the tablet, as I found it, and as I transcribed it, before it was destroyed. May these words not fall into the hands of the enemies of the Dragon.

Paragraph 2

"And in the last days of the great Lo Tan, did he give his blessing and protection to the brotherhood of Keepers. And as the Cycle itself turns, with each Great Spirit rising to ascendency and then falling once more only to rise again, so did the PLURAL-MILDLY-OBSCURE-ABSTRACT-NOUN predict that the Dragon Emperors would return. And so as the line of Emperors slept, the Keepers would protect Their legacy from those who would ACTIVE-PHYSICAL-VERB-FROM-GERMAN-AND-IT-REALLY-SOUNDS-LIKE-IT it and cause the downfall of the Dragon's BIG-CONCRETE-NOUN. And thus did the thirteen Keepers receive their charge, and ACTIVE-PRESENT-TENSE-VERB-OOH-FROM-OLD-NORSE-THAT'S-DIFFERENT the three Keys to the Vault and hide them PREPOSITION the three Flames of the Dragon. And the Flame of the Yin was in the body of the land, and it was deep beneath the earth, where it would not be found. And the Flame of the Chi was in the heart of the land, and it was deep within the tree, where it would not be found. And the Flame of the Yang was in the spirit of the land, and it was deep within the waters, where it would not"

Paragraph 3

These are the words I found upon the scroll, as I found it, and as I transcribed it, before it was stolen. May these words not fall into the hands of the enemies of the Dragon.

Paragraph 4

"The Great Keeper is not able to stop us. The first four are dead, though they did manage to SEVEN-LETTER-TWO-SYLLABLE-SIMPLE-ACTIVE-VERB-FROM-MIDDLE-ENGLISH-OLD-FRENCH the FOUR-LETTER-THING-AND-PLACE-WITH-A-VERB-OF-RELATED-MEANING-AND-PRONOUN-OR-ADJECTIVE-WITH-DIFFERENT-MEANING-FROM-MIDDLE-FRENCH and bury their Key beneath Heaven, never to be recovered. The second four have made a SLIGHTLY-UNGRAMMATICAL-PRETENTIOUS-SOUNDING-GERUND with demons and PAST-TENSE-IRREGULAR-ACTIVE-VERB a piece of the BIG-CONCRETE-PLACE away from the Forest, where it can not be reached. But the third four were PAST-PARTICIPLE-ADJECTIVE and have EIGHT-LETTER-PAST-TENSE-REGULAR-MOSTLY-ACTIVE-VERB-ANGLO-NORMAN-MIDDLE-FRENCH their charge. We shall dive into the CONCRETE-BUT-NOT-SOLID-NOUN-FROM-MIDDLE-DUTCH-OR-LOW-GERMAN-OR-OLD-SWEDISH of the Emperors and TWO-SYLLABLE-SIX-LETTER-ACTIVE-VERB-THAT-THE-OED-THINKS-SHOULD-HAVE-A-HYPHEN the Flame this very day, and the Dragon's Hoard will be ours."

Paragraph 5

These are the words I have VERB, and I believe they are true. Thus, I am the last Great Keeper. The rest of the thirteen are dead, or lost, or worse, and so it is only I who remain to fulfill our NOUN. Though I do not have the Keys, I do have the blessing of Dragon. I shall VERB his Command DIRECTIONAL-ADVERB-FROM-OLD-SAXON-MIDDLE-HIGH-GERMAN to those who would defy his will, and they shall be bound to His ABSTRACT-NOUN-FROM-ANGLO-NORMAN-OLD-FRENCH, as if they were Keepers themselves. Until freed by touch of the Dragon, they shall serve, ADVERB-WHICH-IS-ALSO-AN-ADJECTIVE-OR-VERB-OR-EVEN-NOUN-SO-IT-PROBABLY-DOESN'T-END-WITH-LY PREPOSITION their NOUN, as shall any who join with them. The Dragon's will shall prevail until He returns.


Oooh, nice. When initially thinking about the mechanic, we were thinking of doing mouseovers for information on a single word (if there's ever more than one hint worth of information), but it hadn't come up yet. --Boojum 18:45, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
It's better than the other stuff I tried, at least. Cumbersome to convert my spreadsheet into that format by hand, though, so I'll ponder how to convert it automagically. --Haydn 18:55, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
This is great. My hat's not pointy enough to do it any way but by hand, but I can start adding my previous guesses in off my spreadheet. Xian 14:35, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I have a reasonably tall pointy hat in the field of text-frobulation, if someone wants to send me a spreadsheet to try playing with. --Boojum 14:53, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I forgot that, unfortunately, the way I've been managing my guesses means that previous guesses are not preserved anywhere in the sheet, so by hand is the only way to go back and include mine. Xian 16:08, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. This may be a job for Perl. After the log gets written, though.  :) --Boojum 16:22, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm adding in my (and Xiao Fa's) previous guesses by hand. If any of the guessed words seem sufficiently unlikely to ever be tried again, go ahead and remove them. I already can't guess the same word twice in the same place. Xian 17:43, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
The paragraph breaks help me find my WORDs more quickly. If they are getting in the way of some automated process, feel free to remove them. Haydn 13:36, 18 May 2011 (UTC)


Us humans are usually fairly forgiving, but even fairly sophisticated text-frobulation can't cope with misspellings, so we may need to be more careful than when we're simply writing to be understood.

Prophecy is the noun. Prophesy is the verb. Phrophesy isn't anything. Xian 00:39, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

At this point, there are few enough words that I'm looking by eye rather than doing anything automatic. ascendency/ascendancy was okay, and I will try to not hold obvious typos against you, but I don't count plurality differences, conjugation differences, etc. --Boojum 00:54, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Targeted Discussions

The Cycle WORD Turns

Possibly "the Cycle *wheel* turns"? I miss the words to try. --HeidiB 16:07, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

I tried wheel, it sounded good. No luck.  :-( Haydn 17:31, 31 May 2011 (UTC)


My theory is that this is a wiki with revision control, and we should individually feel free to make executive decisions about how we want it organized. If someone disagrees, they can change it back, and/or start a discussion about it. At the discussion point, we can be all "IMHO" and "Mother May I," but things will tend to go fairly well if we just assume that everyone involved (including ourselves) is clever. For example, if I take out the "Words To Try" and you want them back, just put them back. I'll think, "Huh. Apparently they were more useful than I thought," and happily leave them alone. Haydn 13:23, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

But I don't (yet) feel confident enough in that theory to remove old talk entries, even though they are clearly obsolete. Any opinions on old talk entries or the proposed theory of wiki-etiquette in general? Haydn 13:23, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

If this version of MediaWiki supports fairly low-effort collapsible sections of pages or auto-archiving, either of those could be simple solutions. Otherwise I think the easiest answer is "scrollbar is your friend". Xian 14:37, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Collapsible boxes don't get introduced until 1.17, and this is 1.15. I could try upgrading if people were really enthusiastic about collapsible boxes. I think archiving should just work, though. Let's see. --Boojum 22:49, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Okay, the archive behaves fine (and knows it's a sub-page); the automatic archive box is having issues, I think because I keep trying to steal it from a more recent version of mediawiki.  :-P

Big Picture Meaning

So, are the Keepers of the Hoard the same as the Keepers in this message? I didn't think so; the character of the Keepers in the message seems to be high falutin', and the modern Keepers less so. Plus, "Keepers of the Hoard" doesn't appear. Is it possible the the modern Keepers of the Hoard are the converted minions mentioned in the final paragraph? Would-be robbers who are now defending the Dragon unwillingly? It would nicely explain their skillsets and loyalties. Haydn 18:00, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

I am embarrassed to admit that not only was I assuming that was true, but also that it was sufficiently obvious that I didn't think to mention it. Xian 18:38, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I would agree, it seems the most likely case. Elizabeth 19:19, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Just in case it hadn't already occurred to everyone else doing the exhausting mechanic, it now seems clear that paragraph 2 follows the forms of a magic ritual intended to do something to metal. Perhaps the ritual with the three flames of the dragon creates the keys to the vault? Elizabeth 19:19, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Alpha is not a number. --HeidiB 12:08, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Alpha is a free man! Xian 02:06, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually, in ancient Greek, alpha was often used as a number. alpha = 1, beta = 2, etc. -Derrick

Li Merit was told at the puttering party that he will get an info dump when the page is completely deciphered. --Kasumi 22:58, 13 June 2011 (UTC)


Suffixes not from French

-ship -ness -hood -ric -ly -ing -oid -oholic -orama

Suffixes with arguably Frenchy etymologies

-ery -er -ity -ous -age -itude -ure -tion (also -sion, occasionally -ion) -ance (-ence, -ancy, -ency)