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Draconi Redfir
2016-06-05, 02:06 AM
So long story short; A small group of traitors is behind enemy lines preparing a castle to be siged by Orcs. They recently learned that an important knight regularly patrols outside the castle walls, which is a problem for the orc army that is going to be stealthily camping nearby as he might find their location and get the drop of them.

Fortunately the moat of the castle is a river that flows in the direction of some Orc encampments. so one of the traitors hopes he can drop a message in a bottle into said river to get a message to the orcs to warn them about this and to prepare an ambush.

what i WANT is for the message to appear to be mere gibberish or a different kind of message to someone at first glance. but to the orcs (Who are aware of the Traitor's presence) if they look hard enough, they may be able to decode it and see something along the lines of the following message.

ďAn important foe patrols from This* to That*. Stay hidden, keep quiet, kill all who pass through. Leave *Some kind of sign* to confirm you received this message. Save the leader's skull for me.

P.s. Boil this water before drinking. It's full of human filth.Ē

What i'm thinking is something akin to this letter (https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--tMWRwMQd--/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/19bx6kvqacxw4jpg.jpg) from lemony snicket, where every so often a letter is intentionally smudged/left out, and the real message appears if you put the missing letters together in order.

Problems;
1. i don't actually know the patrol route yet. this part needs to be vague enough to fill in the moment the traitor knows of the route's location, perhaps a set of co-ordinates or something, maybe some numbers at the top of the paper i can just circle and leave some letters next too? Iím not sure. It needs to be simple and easy to fill in quickly.

2. i don't know what kind of signal to request the orcs to leave to confirm they got the message. it needs to be something people won't notice unless they are looking for it, so no smoke signals or fires.

3. i literally just finished a 5-ish hour live roleplay session and Iím tired as heck, but i want to post this as Iím not sure Iíll remember to do so after Iíve gotten some sleep.

aaaaannny like, suggestions or advice or help? Sorry if this thread is hard to comprehend, again my brain isn't working right atm. i am very tired. Iíll respond later after getting some sleep.

Vegan Squirrel
2016-06-05, 11:54 AM
This sounds exciting, and definitely piques my interest. I'll see if I can come up with some ideas.

Initial thoughts:

That seems like a lot of information to hide in this kind of message without arousing suspicion.
"I had a strange dream..." then you can make things sound like gibberish more believably, while hiding details in symbolism. Yeah, that's my thought.
"The wicked sun rises in the South at midday, but sets back in its West (or wherever). I keep to the shadows, fearing the sun's raysóI fear to allow any past me, shedding light on my misdeeds. The sun threatens to ruin me. I yearn to grasp the burned-out husk of the conquered sun. Would the fates could hear me! Would I could see the [insert signal here]!"
Something like that might work, but how will they know it's a message for them?


How are you going to be looking for a signal? Just looking in the general direction from a distance? Using a spyglass?

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-05, 01:46 PM
The traitor in question managed to get himself a job as a guard on the main wall of the fortress, so he stands on the wall overlooking the direction where the orc army is going to be coming from, so he can keep an eye out for things easily. naked-eye preferably, i don't think he'd be able to get his hands on a spyglass anytime soon.

As for how the orcs would know the message is for them? Not sure... the Orc chieftain leading the army is known as cold-fist, so if that word was included in the message somewhere it might help. Otherwise it'd mainly be a combination of prayer (both that the orcs find the message, and that the GM lets this work) and sending the message at least three times before giving up.

Honest Tiefling
2016-06-05, 01:52 PM
If you need to keep things vague, you could borrow from history. When radio got used in wars, there was the problem of the other side listening in, so using heavy amounts of slang/cultural references to confuse the heck out of people.

Humans probably aren't going to care about orcs littering dirty ditties all over the place, and might not realize that a reference to a goddess of fertility is ALSO a reference to a goddess of poison/war/whatever, or that orcs actually do describe her as beautiful (or certain parts of her...) and fecund because prissy prudishness is for flower-smelling elf-lovers. It however, could be a veiled reference to some hills that bear some symbol of hers, like hawks.

Lord Torath
2016-06-06, 01:13 PM
The signal back to Traitor that the message has been read and understood is pretty simple (encoding it is something else). Just instruct them to leave a broken branch or two of a particular tree/shrub/bush in a particular orientation in a particular location one night in view of the fortification walls. When the sun comes up, only Traitor will see it as anything out of the ordinary. It will probably go completely unnoticed by everyone else (unless the DM decides one of the other guards makes a habit of sketching the ground around the moat every day or something similarly unlikely).

Regarding the encryption, I suppose it's now too late to coordinate a cypher with the orks? I guess it's now a question of how likely a floating bottle is to be noticed by (presumably) human defenders or patrols, and how likely the orks are to notice and recognize its importance. Will it help if Traitor tosses the bottle at night? How well-patrolled is the creek/stream/river? Do the orks know to watch it? Can they read?

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-06, 04:21 PM
The leader of the orcs is fairly smart to make up for his lack in physical stature, so Iím crossing my fingers that i can leave just-vague-enough allusions to him that any other orcs who find the bottle will think to bring it to him.

As for people noticing, the refuse and waste from the toilets is apparently always dropped directly into the river that forms the moat. so Iím hoping the traitor can sneak the note in a bottle or other container in that before it's dumped over the wall. since this occurs almost daily, people shouldn't be keeping an eye on last night's dinner. As well it would provide a coating for whatever glass or metal the traitor is able to get his hands on to protect the note, preventing the thing from shining in the sunlight before it hits the water, which is always sparkling.

I was thinking one/a possible signal could be to catch and release three live birds at once so they fly over the Tree line at a time when the traitor is on the walls. that way, if he sees three birds flying away from a point in unison, he will know it was likely them and have an approximate guess on their location.

Did start work on a possible note in the spoiler below.


Story of the Frozen Boxer ; Page 87-89* (co-ordinates)


Such a shame is was, the suf ering of so many inn cents. ev ryone op osed to the salv tion the goddess
allows be not fi to lick the boots of her royal g ace. To b w to any other is to fa sify the truth in one's
kind. To pos es a soul born of the Godess' rig teous light is to

missing letters should spell out "foe patrols here. Stay hidden ambush do not allow return." right now only spells "foe patrols h", while the title is an allusion to the Orc's name, and the page numbers are (hopefully) the co-ordinates of a patrol route, even if it makes something like 156/85 or something.

How's it looking so far?

Honest Tiefling
2016-06-06, 04:26 PM
I like it. But make it look like the guy who scribbled it down was drunk, or have the letters be smudged/missing to make it less obvious. And remember, your secret message does not need to be perfectly written. 'foe patrols here. Stay hidden ambush do not allow return' can become 'foe ptrls hre. Hide ambsh no let return'. There's a chance that it won't get understood, but well, that's secret war toilet communication for you.

Or have some letters be smudged, but they spell out something completely wrong.

Vegan Squirrel
2016-06-06, 04:32 PM
My only thought is that just going with missing letters is really easy to figure out. By the third missing letter, it's obvious there's something going on. But from the sound of it, the message is unlikely to be found by the wrong side anyway.

Sorry, I don't really have any more helpful thoughts at the moment.

EDIT:

I like it. But make it look like the guy who scribbled it down was drunk, or have the letters be smudged/missing to make it less obvious. And remember, your secret message does not need to be perfectly written. 'foe patrols here. Stay hidden ambush do not allow return' can become 'foe ptrls hre. Hide ambsh no let return'. There's a chance that it won't get understood, but well, that's secret war toilet communication for you.

Or have some letters be smudged, but they spell out something completely wrong.

+1 to this. And if you leave letters out, you don't have to leave a space for them. That draws the eye right to it.

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-06, 04:51 PM
The plan was for the traitor to write the full letter propperly, then smudge every missing letter with his thumb while the ink was still wet to give off a writer/water damage look to it or something. the letters are only missing from the text version because digital text can't be smudged out very well.

Again i'm taking insperation from the lemonny snikket letter linked above. personally it took me a few reads to realize what was going on with the missing letters.

Draconi Redfir
2016-06-08, 09:38 PM
Such a shame is was, the suf ering of so many inn cents. ev ryone op osed to the salv tion the goddess
allows be not fi to lick the boots of her royal g ace. To b w to any other is to fa sify the truth in one's
kind. To pos es a soul born of the Godess' rig teous light is to be strong, b autiful, and powe ful.
Knights of the wo ld come tog ther, and as one de troy the here ics of the wild pl nes. Like a p thon
above it's pray you s all str ke, shattering shiel ing foes and defen ing allies alike. Ben ath your feet
ravaged la d shall become h llowed, me ories of bygone sins dis anded and ret rned to the void
of which they belong. Ble sings of the holy one be wit you brave knights.
Today, you shall not return the same.

How does this look? I ran out of space for the "do not allow return" bit, so i tried to impliment that in the final line there and hope the orcs get the gist of it. "foe patrols here stay hidden ambush" is still written in the missing letters though, so even if they don't get the "do not allow return" thing, they will hopefully know what to do.

Still accepting better ideas if anyone has them.