Lessons Learned in Mysteria

KyleSchmelz

Fighter
As part of the expedition to the Olothen Empire, myself and several others attended a lecture at the cryptography college known as the Mysteria. The changelings are apparently known collectively as The Forgetting. Their city, S'lo, has a confusing layout to begin with, but we were led on a circuitous route through the city before eventually being led down an enchanted staircase to the college itself. The lecture was given in code, though that wasn't apparent at the time. Our guide provided us a transcript so that we could decipher it on our own later. The guide seemed to be at least somewhat sympathetic to our cause, due to a likely romantic association with someone in Arbor. This indicates to me that we have at least a handful of Forgetting spies within our kingdom already. The Forgetting seem to be the primary intelligence agents within the Olothen Empire.

I set about deciphering the lecture immediately after returning home. It was primarily divided into five-character segments; my initial assumption was that each set of five was code for either a single word or single character. I determined later that it was in fact a simple substitution cipher, merely confounded by the misplaced spacing. I need not get into the full details of my process, but let it be known that Kazhira assisted me in finding suitable starting places in the work. It was a stimulating puzzle that took me approximately 90 minutes to complete; the students in the lecture, on the other hand, deciphered it nearly as quickly as it was spoken. It was stated to be a novice translation. We should not underestimate their intelligence, nor the difficulty of any future ciphers we might encounter.

The message reads as follows:
Which brings us to the simplest battlefield code. Our commanders need a quick and easy cipher to communicate direct and short orders. I find that a scytale cypher is best as it is easy to encode and decode and is the most efficient for simple details and information. Most of Great Leader’s captains use a hexagonal, two inch circumference dowel. Now, more important communications should never be encrypted by a scytale, but it is good enough for fieldwork, especially if those ones in the back are any indication of the resistance we’ll meet.

The reference to "those ones in the back" was presumably intended as an implied insult to the intelligence of our group of visitors. I was not initially familiar with the concept of a scytale cipher, but having consulted an encyclopedia, I have found that it is a type of transposition cipher. In this case, I believe it will be a six-place transposition cipher. Messages will be sent on a strip of paper, leather, or cloth that can be wrapped around a rod for quick field-decoding.

Please inform me if any further information is required with regards to the expedition, or if I can render any additional assistance.

Talus Duskmere
 
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Talus,

Was the cipher you saw a Baconian cipher, or of another type?
 

KyleSchmelz

Fighter
Squire,

As I stated before, it was merely a substitution cipher. I would not be surprised to see more complex ciphers in the future, however, if we are dealing with trained agents of the Forgetting.

Talus Duskmere
 
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