KeymasterMember since: August 13, 2020
This is one of the articles that was submitted to the contest It was written by Chirita
A Night in the Museum
The Museum of Tibian Arts is definitely not a normal museum. Sure, it has excellent exhibits, thought provoking art, and a dedicated curator. But there’s strange and spooky stuff happening all over the place, and if you’re (un)lucky enough to be locked in there overnight, you’re going to see some unexpected things.
Since we’ve already paid their outrageous fee of 10,000 gold to become a patron, let’s put on our fanciest clothes and see if we can find if there’s anything more here than what meets the eye:
Before even entering the museum, we see an NPC who only seems to work every Sunday: Cilla. She is in-charge of admission to the normal museum and the special exhibition which shows off various fansite items. An interesting thing about Cilla is if you ask her what her name is, she says ‘CEcilla’ (caps intentional). It’s interesting that she doesn’t just use her normal name, because there’s no obvious reason for that.
This seems to be an Easter Egg for the movie ‘Night at the Museum’, as one of the main characters, who has a similar job as this NPC, is named Cecilia. If you’re ever seen that movie, the basic plot is that crazy shenanigans happen with museum statues and exhibits coming to life. This is our very first clue, before we even enter the MOTA, that something weird might be occurring in it.
As we approach the teleporter to enter the museum, we see a cult symbol right behind it. It’s in the shape of a tasty apple. Now normally, I probably wouldn’t enter a museum that has an obvious cult symbol pasted on the front entrance. But then I thought ‘Maybe they have free apples!’ and walked right in.
Right away, we see sideways lettering spelling out MOTA welcoming us.
We then come to the desk of the Museum’s curator: Gareth. Gareth tells us that he’s responsible for the Safety, Maintenance and Acquisitions at the museum. For some reason, even though it’s in dark blue text, Gareth doesn’t want to tell us more about his activities involving acquisitions.
Now Gareth isn’t great at any part of his stated job. Over the course of questlines involving the museum, we find out:
- he allows exhibits to be stolen (and then forces us to pay the ransom to get it back)
- Counterfeit paintings are hung up on the walls that are so obvious they look like they’ve been painted by a child
- Dangerous exhibits come to life and attack patrons every night
- His extension project is a literal portal to hell, filled with demons. He safely and responsibly secures this behind a single wooden door
- He tries to murder us by sending us to a floor infested with cultists, and is disappointed when we make it out alive
Yeah… he’s bad at his job, and definitely a suspicious guy. Let’s ignore him for a moment and focus on the actual exhibits that we find in the museum.
The Art of the Museum
On the first floor, to the north, we find a exhibit regarding the symbols of the Gods of Tibia. Note the familiar symbols for Zathroth and Uman. There is a sign by it that says:
What journey is this referring to?
To the south, we see a sign saying this:
We think come across what appears to be a stylized chess board. It’s immediately obvious this isn’t a normal board, it’s too large, and not nearly enough pieces. Additionally, this seems to be intended to be a multi-scene work of art, as it continues on each floor.
Third floor, note that these are natural blood spawns:
Picture of all 3, lines tracking piece movement:
Contextually, we can make a few assumptions. The first floor appears to show the beginning. All the pieces appear to be in their starting spot, both sides have a Yalahari and an archer, and one side has 2 axe warriors, the other has a spear warrior. The most interesting thing is the Vampire Lord statue right in the middle of the board.
The second floor shows pieces have been moved, the game is being conducted. While nearly all the pieces move, the Vampire stays directly in the center.
On the third floor, we see the pieces have moved again. There are now several blood stains, indicating a vicious battle. Yet again, the Vampire has not moved.
On a Tibia-game level, these pieces are all status. We cannot interact with them or move them in any way. We tried using a number of items on the pieces, particularly the vampire statue, with no effect.
So what are these scenes showing? We believe the Vampire statue is intended to symbolize the being directing the game. The fact that he is alone (indicated no other player) and his position in the middle (and not facing any side) indicates he is manipulating both sides of this ‘game’.
Each side of the board has identical pieces, including Yalahari statues. While the Yalahari and Vampires have a complicated history, we believe the story these scenes are telling is The Fall of the Yalahari.
You can read the full situation here: https://tibia.fandom.com/wiki/Yalahari. The climax of the story is in one fateful night, from a malignant influence guiding their minds, brother fought brother and a horrible genocide befell the Yalahari people. We believe that the Vampire Lord status represents Variphor, the entity responsible for treating the Yalahari like pawns in his own ‘chess’ game, and manipulating them to a violent end
An interesting note on the last floor is that several of the bloodstains are outside of the chess board. Is this an intended part of the exhibit? Is it just trying to artistically show the level of the chaos that night? Or is the blood even supposed to be part of the exhibit at all? Was it caused by some sort of scuffle after the chess game was installed? We don’t know, but it’s curious that the day/night cycle does not affect the chess game at all. We detected absolutely no changes in any of the 3 boards during the day/night transition.
Moving on to the main exhibit, we see an extremely opulent glass cage right in the middle of the museum. It only holds one object, a golden hand clutching some piece of fruit.
It’s visible from all 3 floors, but is actually placed on the third floor. Like other cult objects, it’s obviously a center piece and of great importance to the cults using/worshipping it. Infact, the cultists around it are named ‘Goldhand’ cultists.
What exactly is this? We have 2 potential theories as to what the fruit that it is holding is. It could be an apple, especially since all of the cult symbols are in the shape of a ‘tasty apple’. But we think it’s more likely to be a ‘Forbidden Fruit’. It looks almost identical.
Considering this Cult is all about wealth, where would the Fruit factor in? Why is it so revered, does it generate wealth in some way? We’re not sure
It’s possible to obtain a Forbidden Fruit, and there is an achievement for eating it. It sounds ominous as if it does something, but to date, no one has observed any effects from it. We did have a character from our team eat it, but he too was unable to see any different affects anywhere. Regardless, this deserves more investigation.
We see another subtle hint of apples in the form of a special painting. We can only see part of it in the museum, and the only part we can see contains an apple.
This picture is from Carlin Queen, Eloise’s, throneroom. Here is the full picture. Note you can confirm it’s definitely an apple by looking at the original artwork it is based off (by Tiffazinha, in the Royal Painting contest)
Is this a hint that somewhere in Carlin may have more information? Very possibly, especially as there is a lot of cult activity there. That will make an excellent article in the future.
Let’s talk about the rest of the exhibits.
On the second floor, when we go down there are several stone structures that look like miniature pyramids
At night, 4 of these structures break and 2 creatures spawn right by them.
We did not see any significance to which of the structures are destroyed, but their pattern is interesting. Do you see a relationship or allusion to something else?
Over to the east, there is a Krailos exhibit. There are 2 stuffed clomps there. If you read their description cards you see the following
We almost didn’t catch it at first, but these descriptions are very different even though their total length appears nearly identical (it’s only off by 1 character). They essentially say the same thing, but are worded in separate ways. Why would CIP do this? Why wouldn’t they just copy/past the description like other stuffed exhibits that have duplicates? Strange.
Moving down to the third floor, on the east side, we find several things crammed together. The first is the lever/stones for the quest. These generate a number order that we can use to answer NPC Denominator’s math questions. There’s also a blackboard close to them that says the following:
The quote is an old and famous quote about math, CIP did not make that up. We assume that it is intended to provide a small hint about locating the number that Denominator asks about.
Looking at the lever by the stones, if you press it, each of the stones moves to a position which corresponds to a number. It should be noted that the stone appears different based on which position it goes to, especially the pattern of cracks on the top. We generated over 20 instances of these to stones to search for patterns, but they do appear fairly random. Note that 666 is possible to get, which you can see in a screenshot later in the article.
Also interestingly, there is a secret path from these stones that only shows up at night. Look at how this appears day vs night:
Each path winds and twists then ends with a single black square. Originally our assumption was that this was to demonstrate the order of the numbers, but we’re not so sure anymore. For one thing, if that was the purpose, then why would this disappear during the day? And second, considering the order is already established top/down (Ie. The top stone is the first number, middle stone 2nd, bottom 3rd) this is unnecessarily redundant. So what could these black squares be used for?
We don’t think this was just overlooked, as immediately to the east of this there is a small exhibit, and one of the only ones that has a day/night interaction. The snowman changes from a regular snowman during the day, to a Yeti snowman at night.
Additionally, we notice that there are weird connections between the 3 lines. See how they go over and under each other, except for the bottom right which has both on top.
Is there some sort of mathematic formula that it is trying to hint at? Or is the only use of this answering Denominator’s questions? It’s especially strange because there are 2 signs about math by it, does this indicate 2 possible puzzles?
Finally, there is an additional lever. When clicked, bats appear, and you see white text saying ‘This is not a lever’. It’s speculated that this is a reference to the artwork ‘The Treachery of Images’. That piece shows a picture of a smoking pipe saying ‘This is not a pipe’. It’s basically a meta commentary saying that while your brain sees this as a pipe, it’s really just ink on paper. It emphasizes the difference between a real object and merely the representation of it.
If we follow that reference, then CIP’s purpose would be to, correctly, say that this is indeed not a lever. It’s merely pixels on a screen in the approximate 2 dimensional shape of a lever. I find this very controversial as the direct consequence of it is to take the player out of the role playing mindset and remind them that none of this is real, it’s just a game. Personally, that intentional interruption of roleplaying is sad, and the opposite of what I would expect an RPG to accomplish. But then again, isn’t the point of good art to be controversial?
There still may be practical applications of this piece. Remember when we click it, bats appears. I could not find any references to bats in the ‘Tragedy of Images’ or other works by its artist. What is the purpose of these bats?
It turns out there is one other place in the museum that can generate bats on demand: This chained up skeleton. When you step on him, bats come out. We wondered if there was some link between these 2 things. We tried several things, such as having one player stand on the skeleton and another player click the lever. Nothing obvious happened, but it seems very coincidental that this same, repeatable, animation plays in them. The skeleton may be providing a hint that we need to go check things deeper in the Extension when we hit the lever. I wonder if this is related to the monster blood room of no discernible purpose.
The letters A&M
A strange feature that we can’t tell if it’s an exhibit or not are the letters ‘A’ and ‘M’ on each floor of the MOTA immediately between the main room with the Apple cult object.
Transcripts for Gareth/Gerimor are here:
What do these letters stand for, and why are they featured so prominently? Gerimor, the Druid of Crunor, gives 2 potential ideas:
These are Latin, and translate to ‘Golden Hand’ and ‘Eternal Life’ (The sign in the Oasis is also Latin)
I’m not sure why he thinks AM would stand for “Aeterna Exsistentia”, that doesn’t match up at all, but maybe he knows something I don’t.
It’s also interesting that they are in the normal orientation, and not sideways like the initials MOTA when we enter the museum
The letters for AM also show up on the map, when the MOTA letters at the entrance do not.
It’s possible it could also be a reference to the day/night cycle (AM vs PM), indicating something must be done during the ‘day. Can you think of any other references?
While the letters are on each of the 3 floors, they only show up on the map on the first floor. They are also missing the upper right SQM in each instance we see them (Even though the letters are whole in ‘MOTA’ at the entrance).
It’s clearly important. Maybe it’s the initials for someone we need to talk to. Do you have any thoughts on it?
Monsters in the Day/Night cycle
While we’ve discussed a number of changes observed in the day/night cycle, the most obvious is that creatures come to life.
Normally, during the day, you will see stuffed versions of creatures on podiums. However, when night hits, they disappear, and essentially come to life. Here’s the process
You can then put items on the missing stands, which the stuffed creatures cover when they cover when they come back. Here’s a thunderstorm rune under the stuffed Guzzlemaw
This is also quite likely a reference to the movie ‘Night at the Museum’, where those exhibits come to life too.
But it also may be more than just a reference. I wonder if the cult activity is seeping into the museum itself and causing these weird things. We constantly see pillars covered with weird energy, maybe that’s the way of showing it.
It’s also notable that no other types of statues come to life, just the stuffed versions. The only creature exceptions to this rule are the Stone Golem and Stone Rhino, which simply spawn (though thematically appear to burst from the destroyed stone pagodas).
Floor resets are not tied to the day/night cycle, and behave very differently at different spots throughout the museum.
Gareth’s desk area resets a lot, which generates a new hour glass. By pushing that hourglass to different parts of the museum, you can have several hour glasses existing at once
This has great potential use, as we believe that this hourglass could be used for something. In a separate article by my teammate, he goes into depth about how this hourglass is likely a reference to the large hour glass cult object. Especially because the little hourglass has the cult symbol on top of it. I recommend reading that article for more information on the Cult of eternity.
This little hour glass cannot be removed from the museum nor can it be brought into the Extension, you can’t push it out of the teleporter. It behaves like a piece of furniture and cannot be walked on. Monsters can destroy it if they run through it. We believe the intent may be to drag it somewhere within the museum, and we tried a lot of different places. Duplicating these via the floor reset mechanic allows you to drag many to several different places, and then try things.
For other places, the floor does not seem to reset much at all. You can throw items into most exhibits if you do so from the right areas (generally the rope walls block item throws). For example, in the Carlin exhibit, you can open the cabinet that touches the rope, put an item in there, and then drag it from the cabinet into the actual exhibit
We threw those items in days ago, and they have not been reset. Certain exhibits, like the Ankhramun one, appear to reset quite regularly.
Overall the main 3 things that we think merit the most additional investigation are the Chess game, the hourglass, and the ‘This is not a Lever’ lever. Let us know your ideas on these things!November 10, 2022 at 7:35 pm #6961
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