Return to Black Swan Castle

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Return to Black Swan Castle is a puzzle-based pay quest that results in a prize whether the participants are successful or unsuccessful in finishing the puzzles. The quest was announced at SimuCon 2011 and released as a Box Office event in the spring of 2013, revamping old puzzles from the initial quest written in 1993, as well as providing new puzzles. In 2018, it moved to be accessible through the QUEST verb with a swirling nexus orb item, which can be purchased through the SimuCoin store.

Quest Overview

Officials in Wehnimer's Landing have noticed an increase in troll activity in the Upper Trollfang. After sending several hunting parties to investigate, the source has been narrowed to the area immediately surrounding Black Swan Castle. The town is recruiting volunteers to venture into the Castle and investigate. Because of the danger involved, each hunting party has three hours to explore before being extracted by a rescue team and handsomely rewarded!

Black Swan Castle has a long and storied past. While it was once the pride of the countryside, resplendent with its pristine white marble walls and graceful swan-like curves, dark magic twisted it into its current form a century ago when undead hordes descended on it and the surrounding village. Vestiges of the battle are still visible both inside and outside the castle.

Rumors of dangerous booby traps inside the Castle abound. Can you get by them and discover the source of the trouble? Do you have the brains, guts, and heart to Return to Black Swan Castle?

Up to 10 players can participate in the Return to Black Swan Castle quest. This is a heavily puzzle-based quest that relies on good party balance and a breadth of available party skills. Players are strongly encouraged to bring a diverse group of professions and races for maximum success. While there is limited combat, there are many things that can maim and kill unwary adventurers!

Adventurers have up to 5 hours to complete the quest. There is only one situation with combat. Upon completion of the quest, adventurers will receive experience.

Party Composition

Any character of any level, profession, or race, whether alone or in a group, is able to complete the puzzles. Adventurers do not need to be close in level to each other. However, how challenging it is to complete the puzzles will change based upon party composition and number of party members. A very low-level, low-trained character can finish this quest, although they may have a more difficult time and take longer. A solo character may need to use scrolls or imbeddibles or do things the long way around without using shortcuts, but it can be completed.

Adventurers are not required to stay within one group and can split up to do different puzzles. That said, some puzzles must be done in a specific order.

Puzzle Information

  • When the quest was released, it was stated that the roundtime on some puzzles scaled according to how many players were running the quest and to flatten any purported advantage or disadvantage of group size. It was all stated that the tasks scaled to the number of participants and the puzzles all had alternate solutions.
  • Not all commands used in the puzzles are limited to the usual verbs.
  • There may be some random elements to the quest that change each run.
  • There may be profession-based shortcuts to some of the puzzles.

Credits

GM Vanah rewrote Return to Black Swan Castle from the 1993 version of the quest with the help of Bravura and Perezz (coding); Sleken, Varulv, and Modrian (QCed the code); Zoet (painting); and Tamuz (QC).

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