Between June 1st – 3rd, Dungeons & Dragons is introducing a new adventure storyline to the franchise through the Stream of Many Eyes, a Los Angeles-based event that will be livestreamed on Twitch, featuring gameplay sessions with D&D streamers from popular tabletop shows including Adventure Zone, Dice, Camera, Action!, and Critical Role. And for the past month, Wizards of the Coast has been running an alternate reality game that bridges the gap between Wizards of the Coast’s Forgotten Realms and our own world with No Stone Unturned.
The alternate reality game kicked off on May 1st with a code hidden away at the bottom of the Stream of Many Eyes‘ announcement page on the Wizards of the Coast website.
Decoding the morse code revealed the hashtag #nostoneunturned, which had recently been used on Twitter by Kalesh Marivaldi under the Twitter handle @Immortal4tress. The next day, Marivaldi hijacked the official Dungeons & Dragons account to present fans with a challenge. According to Marivaldi, Elminster, one of Faerûn’s most powerful mages, sent a powerful stone to Earth along with a guardian to protect it. The guardian’s memories of his prior life were replaced with new ones, leaving him ignorant of both his true role and the nature of the artifact he protected. The Forgotten Realms had need of the stone, so Marivaldi charged Earth’s denizens with the task of finding the guardian, helping him reclaim his memories, and sending the stone back to its rightful home.
Finding the Guardian (on Yelp)
After unscrambling an acrostic tweet from Kalesh Marivaldi, players came across mild-mannered Yelp reviewer Adam Glover, operating under the pseudonym Glover’s Travels. Glover’s eccentric ratings system for the places he reviewed was remarkably similar to those of Forgotten Realms’ “legendary” traveler Volothamp Geddarm, and Glover’s name included every letter in Volo Geddarm’s name. Further cementing suspicions that Glover was Elminster’s forgetful guardian, Glover discovered he possessed a notebook bearing Elminster’s sigil, filled with handwritten drafts of Yelp reviews he had no recollection of writing.
Upon closer inspection of Glovers’ reviews for gaming stores, players (who started referring to themselves as #TeamVolo) noticed all of the gaming store reviews included surreptitious references to the names of Forgotten Realms locations. The first player to visit each location and give staffers the location as a passphrase received a key-shaped USB drive, branded with Elminster’s sigil. The messages contained on these drives helped assemble glyph-based language the players deciphered.
Restoring the Guardian’s Memories
In order to restore Volo Geddarm’s memories, Team Volo needed to solve a series of puzzles to identify the necessary components to cast the spell, and then draw upon their collective knowledge of the game to figure out the right spell to cast. Glover’s Instagram account provided the somatic component, with messages in semaphore spelling out “SIGN RECALL”. The glyphs provided on Elminster’s USB keys provided the verbal component of the spell, with a tweet from Marivaldi nudging players on the proper way to sort the monster names spelled out in glyphs leading to the extract, “ADAM IS VOLO.” The material component was identified by solving a logic puzzle contained within Glover’s notebook of forgotten Yelp reviews, resulting in identifying a diamond as the final component.
With the three components identified, players selected the spell of Greater Restoration as the ideal method for returning Geddarm’s memories, and gave Marivaldi instructions on how to use the components together to cast the spell.
Once this was completed, Adam Glover’s profile changed into that of Volo Geddarm, his memories restored.
Returning the Stone to Faerûn
With the Guardian’s memories restored, Team Volo’s current task is to figure out how to return the stone to its rightful home. After decoding glyph-based messages hidden in a series of Dungeons & Dragons Twitch streams, players identified “PLANE SHIFT” as the spell needed to complete the task, with the current series of puzzles focused on identifying the proper procedure for casting that spell. Players are currently poring over a series of crests that were broken apart and shared across the social accounts from news outlets and members of the Dungeons & Dragons community to finish the spell.
To date, the No Stone Unturned alternate reality game has artfully balanced its challenges, blending the puzzles with challenges that require familiarity with the Forgotten Realms universe. Adam Glover’s identity as Volo was revealed as much through familiarity with the character’s system of reviews in Volo’s Guide to Waterdeep as it was through anagrams or puzzles, and his restoration into that name required players to identify the best Dungeons & Dragons spell for the job, knowing they had a diamond at their disposal.
Assuming Team Volo is able to complete the Plane Shift spell in time, it’s even possible the action will continue through to the Stream of Many Eyes itself – tickets for the live event are billed out as Adventure Impractical: A Stone Unturned, raising the possibility that the last month of gaming acts as a prequel to the new adventure.
It’s not too late to join the current adventure, as events leading up to the launch event seem to be coming to a head. While immortalfortress.com is used as the in-game aggregation of events so far, the @immortal4tress and @glovers_travels Twitter accounts seem to be the primary sources for up-to-the-minute updates, with Team Volo updating progress at the Immortal Fortress wiki and collectively solving together on Discord.