This weekend at PAX, Turbine–makers of The Lord of the Rings Online–had a bunch of banners up promoting their new Mines of Moria expansion. Each banner had a riddle on it, written in Tolkien-ish runes, and Turbine’s ad in the program book provided the translation guide.
D teased me about not trying to solve the cryptograms without the alphabet, but the runes were a very loose “phonetic” translation. I use quotation marks there because their phonemes were not consistent–they put a caret (^) over some letters to indicate a long vowel sound, but the runes themselves didn’t always spell words as they should have sounded. (I know, taste of our own medicine, laugh it up.) And they kept using the “dh” rune for “th” sounds, which was mildly annoying.
Anyway, the first five riddles were pretty easy, but the last one–which you had to go to the exhibitor’s booth to see–was a bit of a bear. I didn’t actually end up solving it, because I lost interest after learning that the “prize” was just an entry into a drawing for unspecified stuff. Lame.
Here’s my translation of the final riddle:
My twin dark reds(?) no longer hide
The greens once set so deep inside
Below a pair of rows(?) is found
Of jagged silvers up & down
This indigos(?) a barren bin
A brown(?) was once contained therein
The original runes:
(Photo from forums.lotro.com)
And here’s the “Cirth alphabet.” See what I mean? How is an ampersand a phoneme? Sigh.
Post a comment if you think you know the answer. It’s a five-letter word, and it’s not “mouth.” (For reference, the other answers were “treasure chest,” “ring,” “spark,” “tombstone,” and “gem.”)
Read more about CKL+D@PAX on Travels With Our Cats!