Crypt is a cipher text inspired by necron glyphs from Warhamer 40k. It is a simple substitution cipher, meaning it is easy to use and can be easily adapted to any alphabetic language (ie, doesn’t have to be English).
- English characters map to Crypt symbols
- Words are linked together along a common connecting path
- Spaces are preserved between words
- Common letters have simple symbols; rare letters have complicated symbols
Transcription is easy - just take each letter from your text and convert it to the appropriate character. Link letters together into words along (mostly) the central axis.
Some special cases:
- Separation Character: Naive linking of some characters would lead to ambiguity (ex: D, F, G, S, T). If linking could cause ambiguity a special separation character is used:
- Punctuation: periods connect to the previous character, commas hang off to the side from the previous character (I think, therefore I am.)
- Need Moar: Not all characters have a Crypt symbol. I welcome suggestions! We could use a sweet number scheme and some more punctuation (?!).
A longer example:
Using Cipher Text in your Game
I have used cryptic texts in my games to provide flavor and hide information for the players to discover. One great aspect of this is that it can be nuanced – players may not realize until halfway through a campaign that all of the maps contain annotations in the same language that they can decipher – and they can do the solving offline. Solving the cipher is often fun and rewarding.
(Once the players solve it I often just provide translations for future text to avoid forcing them to mundanely convert it back.)
- Primary text on riddles (if you want to be heavy-handed) or encrypted messages
- Annotations on maps (great for hiding bonus information)
- On ancient dungeon walls, tombs, and tomes
- Hidden in all sorts of places – it is great when players realize the decoration text in all those places had real meaning all along
A very simple Java program to generate similar images is available here. Feel free to develop improvements.