The Conductor

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The Conductor is an Alternate Reality Game that took place in March 2015, and served as an introduction to the #IAMTSW contest.

The First Message

On March 12 a new forum account was created called TheConductor, a name alluding to the Stationmaster. The first message from TheConductor titled 122635 was posted on March 13. An mp3 file was attached to the message.

Hello? Yes?

Is anyone out there?

You might know me as the Stationmaster. I manage the platforms. Make sure Agartha's thoroughfares are clear and tip top. But now, there are items and actions that need direct conveyance. In this, I will be a conductor. But enough jabber and preamble. My time is short.

This message came through today. Garbled. Can't make much sense of it. There was a number attached: 122635. Put on your best pondering hats. Give us a help. Yes?
TheConductor, (Source)

The community quickly started looking into the numbers and the mp3 file, exploring different options such as phone number and coordinates. After the audio was cleaned up, the players discovered that the first mp3 file repeated the word speak in five different languages: english, russian, german, french and chinese. There was also a long discussion about the relevance of the numbers, but it yielded no concrete results.

The Second Message

On March 16 another message was posted by TheConductor titled: The hour is late. Attached to the message was another mp3 file as well as an image.

The message from TheConductor
By my watch, it's always late.

I have found another message. The paper is burnt a bit on the edges, but I think I can make out some numbers here.

Thinking fast, I was able to record the voice and the signal accompanying the paper missive. It repeated itself. Funny and peculiar, but I get the suspicion that this message is more special than the others.

Perhaps there is something in the details I'm not seeing? Ah how I do miss the olden days of semaphore and Morse code. Reliable, those. Rock solid. Nowadays, it’s all cyber this and techno that. This audio missive though, seems to address those not yet in Agartha.

Help me out, friends. Figure out this mystery, and I'll doff my cap to you.
TheConductor, (Source)

The players quickly discovered that the mp3 file contained the sentence record your greatness in five different languages. Player jdh399 also noticed that the sequence 122635 was a part of the number 51172122635117212 provided in the image. Soon after, player myth26 discovered the a comment in the metadata of the mp3 file.

the mp3 comment contains Rm9yIHRob3NlIHdobyBhcmUgbm90IGluIEFnYXJ0aGEgeWV0Li 4uQEZ1bmNvbV9UU1cjSVdBTlRUU1c=
myth26, (Source)

Using Base64 conversion, player Shezbeth discovered the following message:

For those who are not in Agartha yet...@Funcom_TSW #IWANTTSW
shezbeth, (Source)

Subsequently the #IWANTTSW hashtag was used by the Funcom Twitter account to post a 30 day trial key for the Secret World. The players meanwhile continued to investigate the string of numbers found in the image, but this yielded no concrete results.

The Third Message

On March 17 another message was posted by TheConductor titled: Another tick on the old chronometer. Attached to the message was another mp3 file. This time the audio said: Believe in your biography.

Events are shuffling, but we must have order.

Everything in its place, all neat and tidy.

Everyone's civic-minded diligence has been noted and appreciated.

That said, the mysterious message has changed again. Eerily similar to the past missives, this one seems focused on some kind of written record.

I leave it here, unedited, for your consideration.

But enough of my dithering blatherskite. There are people to usher. Places that need things and things that need places.

Thank you, friends, and off we go!
TheConductor, (Source)

Subsequently another message was found in the metadata of the mp3 file which lead to yet another trial key being posted on Twitter.

The message within the mp3's comments, this time in hexadecimal: "To those new to Agartha, @Funcom_TSW #IWANTTSW. For those already within, have patience."
Shezbeth, (Source)

The Fourth Message

On March 15 another message was posted by TheConductor titled: One always finds something needing doing down here. Attached to the message was another mp3 file. This time the audio said: dress in your dimension.

Whatever you're doing, my friends, it is working.

Working what, I can't rightly say.

There is quite a stir in the portal above me. Yet another missive arrived, not with a whisper, but, dare I say, a shout. Blew my hat clean off my head. Curious thing, very curious.

All these clues are connected somehow, and that is where I look to you for help. You're a clever, curious lot, by the cut of you, with an affinity for curious things. Heads like mystery boxes, wheels always turning.

Turn your cogs, crank out a solution, and I will be obliged.
TheConductor, (Source)

An alpha cipher was also discovered within the file which lead to a pastebin. Another comment was found in the metadata as well.

79 110 99 101 32 109 111 114 101 32 100 111 101 115 32 116 104 101 32 111 102 102 101 114 32 115 116 97 110 100 44 32 102 111 114 32 116 104 101 32 104 111 117 114 32 105 115 32 110 101 97 114 108 121 32 97 116 32 104 97 110 100 46 64 70 117 110 99 111 109 95 116 115 119 32 35 105 87 65 78 84 116 115 119
Vallikat, (Source)

The solution was quickly discovered by the players and another trial key was later posted on Twitter.

Once more does the offer stand, for the hour is nearly at hand. @Funcom_tsw #IWANTTSW Ascii code writen in decimals instead of hex.
Dlacik, (Source)

The meaning behind the sequence of numbers found in the pastebin file continued to allude the players until the solution was finally found by Kaphax. Players also finally made the connection with the contest that Funcom Community Manager Tomium had hinted at in an earlier forum post.

Removing all the 48, 49, 50, 51 and 53 and translating it from number to ascii "IT BEGINS ARE YOU TSW" no question mark.
Kaphax, (Source)

Subsequently the players chased another wagtail related to different portals in Agartha, but this yielded no results.

The Fifth Message

On March 19 another message was posted by TheConductor titled: Where was I. Attached to the message was another mp3 file.

These balmy temperatures, they can play havoc on one's concentration.

The signal is getting stronger. I can make out some words in the warbling chaos. "Ply," maybe? Or "pry"? "Pray?" I am uncertain, and I dislike uncertainty.

The aperture of the portals has closed a bit, making things even more odd than usual.

Also unusual is the number of travellers I see in Agartha these days.

A real boom.

Is there a goings on that I have not been notified of? Unscheduled departures and arrivals are the bane of my carefully maintained order. But complaining gets one nowhere. I keep calm. I carry on.

Still, this heat though…
TheConductor, (Source)

The mp3 file contained the following sentences: Speak. Record your greatness. Believe in your biography. Dress in this dimension. Craft by your own hands. Capture the moment. Eventually everyone shows up. I am TSW. Are you TSW? Subsequently more information was found in the metadata of the file.

Information pulled from the file:

49 74 20 77 61 73 20 73 69 74 74 69 6e 67 20 74 68 65 72 65 2c 20 74 68 65 20 77 68 6f 6c 65 20 74 69 6d 65 2e


uggc://gval.pp 83 76 65 83 72 32 MTIyNjM1MTE3Mg==
hsekiu, (Source)

The numbers translated to: It was sitting there, the whole time. The rest of the information brought the player to a pastebin filled with binary code. The pastebin is no longer available.

uggc://gval.pp --> ROT13 "http: //tiny .cc"

83 76 65 83 72 32 --> ASCII "SLASH " MTIyNjM1MTE3Mg== --> Base64 "1226351172"

Follow the link -->
KletheTemplar, (Source)
Ran it through Binary > Text. 032715 You have found the clues 032715Р032715 We told you what to do 032715Р032715 Now go and tell the hawk what we said 032715Р032715 Eight shall enjoy an end and a way to cap off this happening 032715Р032715 You have 24 hours starting now 032715Р032715 Good luck. 032715
hsekiu, (Source)

032715 was believed to be the date 03/27/2015. The Hawk was quickly understood to be a reference to Tomium and KletheTemplar suggested sending Tomium the content from the mp3 files.

The message says to tell The Hawk what we said. So I figured I'd send him a PM I got this reply: "Congratulations, You are the first winner of 8. You will receive an in-game hat soon, and will get a heads up on the contest we are about to announce!"
KletheTemplar, (Source)

The Portal Closes

On March 20 another message was posted by TheConductor titled: If one thing is done, another always needs doing.

The portal, I'm afraid, is closing.

I have done what I could.

You all have done much more, with your mystery box heads and cleverness. A tip of the cap to each and every one.

The clues and the riddles are yours. This will be my last message on the matter.

I must get back to my duties as stationmaster, and make sure these honey-halls flow true and timely.

The hour is always late and something always needs doing…
TheConductor, (Source)

The post was followed up on March 23 with a reveal of the winners in a post titled: That portal is now closed.

Life returns to normal, or abnormal, as it were. As it closed, I heard a whisper or somesuch. The whispered words sounded like:

Lexi-Read, Elessarus, HoneyBeaver, Haereticaner, andieg, Miyasan, Skecpa and KletheTemplar

Strange when the cosmic winds become a breathe and a portal becomes a mouth. Strange business, that. The portal seems…satisfied, if such a thing is possible. Conducting concluded, you can now call me Stationmaster again. The anomaly is thankfully appeased, back to regulation and clockwork. The voices in the portal are still a mystery, but I would hate to speculate ill-informed.

Right. Off to my appointed rounds. Cheers.
TheConductor, (Source)

The nine players listed in the post each received an in-game #IAMTSW hat. Following the final post, these players also reported getting PMs with encrypted text that revealed the dates for the different #IAMTSW contests:

  • Capture the moment on day 89
  • Believe in your biography on day 103
  • Record your greatness on day 117
  • Eventually Everyone Shows Up on day 124
  • Prove you are TSW on day 131
Alternate reality games
▪ End Of Days ▪ Division-66 ▪ The Conductor ▪ Solomon's Seals ▪ The Rider Cometh