A Museum of more than just Art

This is one of the articles that was submitted to the contest and won the 1st place. It was written by Talanor

 

A Museum of more than just Art

By Talanor

The Museum of Tibian Arts certainly has some amazing exhibits, from thought provoking art to excellent depictions of life throughout Tibia. But a number of interesting things happen outside its marble walls, let’s take a look at some!

The Sandy Cave Project (SCP)

The SCP is directly funded by the MOTA, and involves investigating a newly discovered cave beneath the Dark Pyramid (The Darashia Mino area). NPC Angelo is leading the investigative effort. During the quest here, we discover things aren’t going well for him. He hasn’t found any artifacts, his employees are missing, and we end up killing the Sandking which upsets him so much he won’t talk to us anymore.

Let’s see if we can do a better job of investigating than Angelo.

Starting at the beginning, the SCP is located below the Minotaur-infested Dark Pyramid. It seems very unlikely that both areas would be so close by coincidence, but is there any real link between them?

Yes, yes there is. Way before the SCP was actually implemented into the game, there was a single mummy spawn on the bottom floor of the Dark Pyramid. It seems very likely that this was a hint that something was buried below it. Of course we know now that the SCP is full of Putrid mummies, but apparently at least 1 escaped and decided to live in the Dark Pyramid.

We know from the quest that the mummies seem to be created from drinking contaminated water. It’s not an instantaneous process though, as the research reports.

The poor explorer, mad with thirst, drank from a well that he found. A well directly connected to the poison oasis we see on the next floor. The result was that he was eventually turned into a mummy. Perhaps the lone mummy we see in the Pyramid was a different explorer who found his way into the cave, and managed to just barely make it out before his transformation occurred.

We know from many sources, such as this book, that the Dark Pyramid was created by Bonelords.

But that doesn’t prove one way or another if the Bonelords made or even knew about the caves. Yet we have a very good hint that the Bonelords also created the caves from an unlikely source: The Black Knight. While he was a ton of lore involving his story, I’ll briefly summarize a small part of his story.

An earthquake happens, and the Black knight gets trapped underground for weeks. He finds a cave system, and waits for rescue. Eventually he hears digging noises, which he hopes are his friends coming to save him. But, they aren’t

They were Bonelords, digging deep underground. With no other choice, he decides to investigate more

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He locates a small stream in their cave, and drinks from it. Shortly after, he begins to undergo a mental/physical transformation

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He starts hearing promises of eternal existence and immortality, and is turned into essentially a minion of the Bonelords.

So how does this establish a Bonelord connection to the SCP? Because the exact same thing happened there. Giant tunnels were dug out by Bonelords, just like the Black Knight heard, in the shape of the infinity symbol representing eternity.

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Then a stream was channeled through them, just like the Black Knight found.

Promises of immortality were made:

And yet, the result was warping of mind and body, and enslavement

It seems this is the exact same behavior pattern of the Bonelords! I wonder if there are other caves hidden beneath other Bonelord ruins?

There’s an Oasis at the end of stream where the water pools at. We see 2 human statues in it, likely intentionally designed to make unwary travelers believe it’s safe to drink. We also see a special cult object.

When looking at it, it only says ‘Cult Object’. It is clearly a large hourglass that appears to run infinitely. Obviously this makes thematic sense with the concept of Eternal Life displayed here. But what does this object do? What could it be used for?

NPC Angelo doesn’t know about it. He mentions that they haven’t found any artifacts, and as all of his employees are now mummies, he hasn’t received any reports about it. As far as we know, we’re the first ones to see it.

But… I think there’s someone else that knows about this.

Gareth, the museum coordinator, knows much more than he lets on. The central exhibit in the MOTA is another Cult Object

During the Cults of Tibia quest, Gareth specifically wants to know if Angelo has found an artifact. Gareth also has only 1 decoration on his desk:

It’s a miniature hourglass. That seems like it would have to be a huge coincidence that the closest object to him would be a version of something that he should not have any way of knowing about. To further prove that, look at the top of the hourglass

It has the cultist symbol right on it! There’s no way that’s a coincidence!

I think Gareth knows exactly what is in the SCP, and I think he wants it for himself and the MOTA. Remember, he has a history of not being honest with us. He sends us to the bottom floor of the museum with 0 warning whatsoever that there could be danger there, and then is upset when the cultists don’t kill us.

He tried to tie us up as a loose end once he didn’t think we were useful to him, and now knew too much. It also proves that Gareth knows that there are cultists in the MOTA and he’s not bothered by that fact!

So why is he trying to collect multiple cult objects? Is there some sort of link between the cults, or some power that having all the objects gives? Does he know about the skull Cult Object from Barkless? I think we need more hints.

Let’s take a look at Gareth’s other large project: The Extension.

Mirius has an excellent video showing off The Extension. I highly suggest watching it to see his guide on it.

But what’s actually happening here? What is the point of the weird areas and actions that we can observe? I believe that the function of the first floor is a creation ground for Floating Savants. From the Tibian Library section:

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We see that Floating Savants are directly created from Guardians of Tales, which is a monster only found in the Secret Library. They combine, via a secret and unknown process, with a very eager minion of Zathroth. It gives us the following formula:

Dead Guardian of Tales + Scholar of Zathroth + Secret ritual = Floating Savant

This process is repeatable, as their bodies can be used again. I believe that is exactly what is happening on this first floor.

If we try to fall down the pit to floors below, we get the message ‘Never overpass the event horizon’. This is intentionally unclear, but an ‘event horizon’ is basically a way of saying a point of no return. The obvious message here is that jumping into the pit does something that cannot be undone. I theorize this is the first step of the ritual for one of Zathroth’s followers to become a Floating Savant. They kill their physical body, which is a quintessential point of no return, in this ritualistic pit which prepares their soul for the conversion process.

They are then brought to the strange sacrificial slab. The fact that this intentionally uses the oldschool graphic for it indicates this is a very old and specific stone directly used for the ritualistic purposes. Here we see a number of bodies in various levels of freshness. Blood appears to be extracted, and completed bodies are then moved north to a final chamber. Failed bodies are discarded.

In this room, if you step on any of the spots marked with gold coins, a fire wave will appear, and you will see the message ‘The evolution has done right!’. The most logical conclusion is that this is the final part of the ‘evolution’ to make a fresh Floating Savant.

But there’s a small problem with this, there is what appears to be a typo in the message. Now typos in Orange text are not rare, and in most cases it doesn’t change the meaning. For example, look at the current message that pops up when you engage the Magma Bubble:

There’s 2 separate typos, but you can clearly understand the meaning.

But for the phrase ‘The evolution has done right!’, this is not the case. We assumed CIP meant ‘was done right’ or ‘has been done right’. This might seem like a silly grammatical point, but it changes the entire meaning of the phrase.

So, my team reported it, and received this response:

Interesting. So it’s not a typo. Here’s where I had to bring in my native English speaking friends, and they tell me the phrase sounds wrong. They gave me an example of the distinction:

‘Jimmy returned his stolen candy bar, he has done right’.

The distinction is that ‘was done right’ implies that instructions were followed correctly

‘Has done right’ implies that some form of justice or moral action has taken place.

Now, I realize in a game created by native German speakers to an audience whose primary language is not English, I might be reading into this too much. But still, it’s interesting that even after we offered our correction, CIP still said the initial version is still correct. You decide whether this is a clever hint or not, and what the implications of each are on what the message means.

Enough with the grammar lesson, let’s move on!

So now our question is, can we reproduce this ritual? Can we kill a Floating Savant, and combine it with one of the existing bodies to make a brand new one somehow? Do we need to freshly kill a player with those flames? Surprisingly, we didn’t get a lot of volunteers to commit suicide here.

It also brings up the question of the direct link between the Secret Library and the Extension. How are they getting the bodies of Guardians of Tales here to use to create Savants? Is there some secret portal between the Secret Library and Extension?

Let’s check another potential clue.

In the very last part of the MOTA quest, we enter the ‘Chamber of Doom’, and find an inscription. Gareth translates this for us:

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‘Those who are accorded the honour to visit this exclusive place will smash their blindness and face the truth.’

(Fun fact, one of my teammates actually translated this cipher and Gareth’s translation is accurate!)

What does this statement mean though? Is it a reference to becoming a Floating Savant? I imagine transforming something that has a huge eye must feel a lot like ‘Smashing your blindness’

A picture containing text, toy Description automatically generated After all, I’ve never seen a Savant wearing glasses ☺

But what about the ‘face the truth’ part? There’s nothing in the Chamber of Doom that really applies to that. Perhaps when the inscription mentions an ‘exclusive place’ it doesn’t mean the Chamber, but somewhere else.

We looked at the next line Gareth says, that NPC Dedoras is looking for examples of these kinds of inscriptions. So we went to talk to him.

A lot of NPCs don’t say much after you complete their quests, and I completed the Secret Library quest years ago, so I was unsure if this would be a waste of time. When we started to talk to him, everything was normal at first, nothing special or new…. Until

Immediately my heart started beating. I can’t explain how exciting it is to see ‘Questlog updated’ in a situation where that shouldn’t be possible. I had fully completed all missions from Dedoras, and yet something new just occurred

I looked at my chat:

What the heck?! 5 Quest log updates? What’s going on here?

I hurried into my quest log for ‘The Secret Library’ and noticed something strange. ‘The veiled Hoard of Zathroth’ was now marked as uncompleted and set back to the initial stage. I immediately realized that this was a bug similar to the Dwarven Legs situation from Beregar, where you could loop quest progress. In the Dwarven legs situation, it could be exploited to get infinite Dwarven Legs. Was there something similar that could happen here?

We then found a very minor exploitative situation with it, and immediately did not look further because we didn’t want to risk high level characters on an unknown bug.

We wont list exact steps to reproduce the bug.

While we will absolutely report this bug to CIP (especially if we find a major exploit related to it), we wanted to share the thrill of seeing the Quest log update. It’s a feeling we don’t get often.

Moving on!

While Dedoras gave us a thrill, he didn’t give us much else about the text. While we have some ideas about testing what it could mean, that will probably have to wait for the next test server.

Let’s check out the only other NPC in the MOTA: Denominator

His name is obviously a reference to mathematics, as he appears to be a semi-sentient calculator. His purpose in the quest is to ask you some basic math/logic questions. If you get one wrong, he shuts down, and you must restart the conversation.

After you finish this quest, he does not say anything other than:

I can’t find a single other response that he says to any keyword. It appears, like NPC Angelo, one he has served his purpose there’s no way to talk to him anymore. We’re not missing much, all of what he says is very brief math questions. He doesn’t do chit-chat…. Until his very last line.

While watching a Youtube video of the quest (By Emulov Sun), I noticed the final thing he says to you is:

When I did this quest, I completely missed this. What does he mean when he says ‘The druid of Crunor lies’? It’s the only non-mathematical thing he says, and there is no way to get him to repeat this line. This means the only way you will ever see this is to notice it when you do the quest, or find one of the rare YT videos that actually shows the full chat.

I’m guessing that everyone else missed this was well, because if you Google that phrase, you find absolutely no discussion about it.

What is the Druid of Crunor (Gerimor) lying about? How does Denominator know he is lying and why would he tell us?

Gerimor has A LOT of things about a lot of different topics. Notably, he is one of the NPC’s that gives us the most information about Variphor. Is he lying about that? Instead of fighting against Variphor, is he actually working for him? This is very suspicious.

Again, we’re left with more questions than answers, but it may be time to re-examine the entire Cults of Tibia quest

Overall, it’s been fascinating to see the remote projects that the Museum has invested in. I can’t wait to see what Gareth decides to do next!

Book references:

https://tibia.fandom.com/wiki/Black_Knight_Meets_Bonelords_(Book)

https://tibia.fandom.com/wiki/Black_Knight_Gives_Up_on_Humans_(Book)

https://tibia.fandom.com/wiki/The_Black_Knight%27s_Last_Moments_of_Sanity_(Book)

https://www.tibia.com/library/?subtopic=creatures&race=floatingsavant

Youtube link for ‘Druid of Crunor Lies’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV0KCkOXTWw

 

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