From March 21, 2018, a hidden chapter to the dwarven saga in the Lord of the Rings Online was revealed. Unlike the majority of the quests in this MMO, the players are not led to the reward with giant arrows and colorful trackers, but instead must rely on their riddle-solving abilities and knowledge of the game and its lore. The emergence of this special event spawned a mad dash to the solution and it’s final reward, a mountable goat “clad in the raiment of Erebor’s royal guard.”
What follows is a walkthrough and chronicle of the event; spoiler mode is activated to its fullest. While the guide will lead you to completion, there are some details that are missing such as how one clue leads to the next. If you understand why, please comment and it will be added to the guide.
It started with an innocuous line in the Update 22 patch notes:
Something secret will become available on March 21st. Good luck!
The ears of the keen-eyed perked cautiously up and waited until that day. A second clue emerged in a forum thread on the morning that the secret was to be revealed this time from a newly registered account under the name LastScavenger:
Secret Stone Treasure Hunt
King Thorin III has asked you to try to locate an ancient relic known as the Secret Stone.
But what dangers did the poem warn about? Can you solve this mystery on your own?
This difficult treasure hunt will require community teamwork and resources outside of the game itself.
We would learn later that some of that text came verbatim from the in-game quest, and it was likely planted by someone who had a hand in crafting this story. Soon after, reports emerged of mysterious old chests around Erebor and the Dale-lands and an old tome meticulously positioned in an obscure corner of the Hall Under the Mountain. The hunt was on.
Among the riddle solving and theory crafting, many were struggling to activate the first quest. According to Cordovan, it turns out that players must first complete “Introduction: Northern Mirkwood” to begin. He goes on to explain that the quest series is not a one-day event, but will be available “from this point onwards.”
The Secret Stone
- Locate the tome. [A]
On a bench on the upper level of the north-west hall of the Hall Under the Mountain lies an old tome turned open to a poem about a mysterious secret stone. The nearby dwarf Grótur offers no help, but reading the poem indicates a dwarf of the line of Durin would know about this fabled stone.
Notes: You must approach the tome for the quest to become active.
The poem in the book is shown in the quest acceptance dialog but if your character is set to automatically accept auto-bestowed quest, you can see the poem text in the quest log.
- Speak with Thorin III in Erebor. [B]
Thorin III is onboard with the idea to search for the stone and recommends that you look for more information within Erebor.
The Lost Pages
- Locate and decode the first page. [C]
A scrap of paper is tucked away on an upper shelf in the south-east corner of the Hall with curious dwarf runes. Using a dwarf alphabet such as this one, the runes decode to kh-e-l-e-d-z-a-r-a-m. Kheled-zaram is the dwarven name for the Mirrormere, a lake in eastern Lothlórien.Note: The double-x character is either a typo or the makers used a different alphabet to encode this message.
- Locate and decode the second page. [Lothlórien: 14.1S, 76.3W]
We find a pedestal at the south end of the lake but during the day, nothing appears to happen. At night, however, the moon illuminates the runes and another clue appears. This time we get b-i-n-a-kh-r-a-m. This does not refer to a location or a person specifically, but perhaps Thorin might understand.
- Speak with Thorin III in Erebor.
Thorin says that binakh-ram is their word for “nameless” but leaves the hints at that.
There’s a huge leap here to the next step, but head to Zudrugund. Trust me.According to LansuEV, the architect behind this puzzle, this is where the scraps from an old tome found in Erebor and Dale come into play.
Interlude: Scraps from an Old Tome
- Finding these scraps is skippable and is only of help in finding the next location and the requirements for finding the stone.
It seems like the Mad Dwarf leads to a dead end, however, sharp-eyed adventures report the appearance of old chests in the foothills of Erebor and its surrounding landscape. Nine scraps of an old tome were recovered in total, each with a garbled message.
These are ciphers using monoalphabetic substitution in which each letter is replaced for another offset using the keyword “nameless” obtained from the previous clue.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
N A M E L S B C D F G H I J K O P Q R T U V W X Y Z
For example, the word “Durin” is encoded as “Euqdj”. An automatic solver such as quipqiup will get you most of the way, but good, old logic will finish the job.
Note: there appears to be a typographical error on the fourth page. The first letter “R” should be a “Q” producing a decoded “R”.
- 26.3N, 25.7W
Znqnbcnqns dr wclql tcl gly qlindjr.
- 21.0N, 29.0W
Ujelq bunqe. Yku wdhh jlle tk oqlrljt tclrl:
- 21.8N, 25.6W
Edsslqljt rtkjl, enqg nje rtqkjb.
- 28.5N, 24.7W
Rltqdlvle sqki tcl ello odt,
- 29.3N, 29.0W
Ujelq bunqe ks tcl bjnwdjb kjl.
- 26.4N, 21.6W
Bkhe, idjle nje skqble dj ikqdn.
- 16.9N, 31.0W
Ujtdh yku ckhe tclrl dtlir, tcl wny wdhh qlindj rcut.
- 17.2N, 22.0W
Jkjl aut tcl hdjl ks Euqdj iny gjkw ks dt, aut
- 26.5N 29.8W
Euqdjr skhg, alwnql wcnt huqgr djrdel.
The decoded poem reads as follows:
Zaragharaf is where the key remains.
Under guard. You will need to present these:
Different stone, dark and strong.
Retrieved from the deep pit
Under guard of the gnawing one.
Gold, mined and forged in moria.
Until you hold these items, the way will remain shut.
None but the line of Durin may know of it, but
Durins folk, beware what lurks inside.
In addition to information vital later on in the puzzle, the first letter of every decoded line spells out the location of the next clue: Zudrugund.
- Locate and decode the third page. [Enedwaith: 65.6S, 8.5W]
On the highest levels of this fount of dwarven knowledge, another scrap of paper lies haphazardly on a table. More runes, and this time they point to Thorin’s Hall.
The Mad Dwarf
- Find Orring in the Thorin’s Hall Maker’s Hall.
A thorough search of Thorin’s Hall uncovers an intoxicated dwarf in an exceptionally well-hidden upper corner of the crafting hall. Look for the quest ring. He mumbles something about Nud-melek.
- Locate the page in Nud-melek. [9.1S, 101.6W]
Yet Another exhaustive expedition leads to yet another scrap of paper this time with foreign scrawling and a sketch of a flower. Who knows about flowers? Dwarves!? Well, in this case, it’s an elf we seek in nearby Lothlórien.
- Speak with Galathril in Caras Galadhon. [15.3S, 68.2W]
It turns out the characters refer to a specific type of flower named Nathlandir that is all but extinct. On a hunch, Galathril sends adventurers to Fangorn to pick the very last plant so that she may make a drink to clear Orring’s head.
- Find the Nauthlandir flower in the Entwood. [41.1S, 82.6W]
The elf describes the plant as preferring to grow near large stones. The map for Entwood depicts several groupings of rocks, but the flower you seek near the far western outcropping.
- Speak with Galathril again.
Back in Elf Central, Galathril risks snuffing out an entire species to create a cocktail cure for a dwarven hangover.
- Speak with Orring again.
With a clearer head, Orring reveals little to nothing except a name: Rúnvarth, guardian of the key. But where is he? This is where the trail goes cold and we must pick up another loose end.
The Key and the Keyhole
- Travel to Zarârgharâf. [Durin’s Way: 4.3S, 110.1W]
Line 1 of the poem above mentions Zarârgharâf, an area of Moria also known for the entrance to the Bat Cave. Only after completing “The Mad Dwarf” will you see a discarded parchment which will pick up the trail again. The chamber of the secret stone has been moved and Rúnvarth relocated to Othrikar in the North Downs.
- Speak with Lúki, then Rúnvarth in Othrikar. [North Downs: 6.9S, 45.1W]
Lúki stands watch outside a dwarven home and after speaking the name Rúnvarth, he summons the aforementioned dwarf at your behest. The keymaster kindly inquires after three items, the same three items referred to in the decoded poem above.
- Bring Rúnvarth three items
- Black Adamant (Different stone, dark, retrieved from the deep pit)
- Khazâd-Gold Ingot (Gold, mined and forged in Moria)
- Gnawed Piece of Metal (Different stone, strong, under guard of the gnawing one)
The first two must be in your inventory. Black Adamant can be found in Mordor and Northern Mirkwood ore deposits while Khazâd-Gold Ingots are forged from Khazâd Skarn, found in Moria and Lothlórien, by a Prospector. The local auction house may also list these items albeit likely for an extortionate price.
The Gnawed Piece of Metal is found in the left side (Kergrim) of the Skûmfil instance in a small cavity of Old Gnawer’s lair. This item will not become active until you are at this point in the quest.
- Return to Thorin III in Erebor.
The key is forged anew. All that’s left is the keyhole. When in doubt, return to Thorin.
- Find the keyhole and enter the secret chamber.
Apparently, Thorin’s throne conveniently lies atop the secret chamber and the keyhole is to the east of where the dwarf king stands. The mating of key to keyhole reveals a door within which lies the fabled secret stone. Let the events transpire then return to Thorin.
- Return to Thorin III for your prize.
As a reward for finding the secret stone, Thorin awards you a shiny new goat in blue and gold cladding, armed for battle (it’s not a war-goat though). Congratulations!