By Matt Gruskin and Greg Pliska

The presentation of this puzzle mimics the user interface of the computer game Dwarf Fortress. Using the arrow and < and > keys, the solver can navigate and move a cursor around a 3 dimensional ASCII-art world representing an underground fortress. The status area on the right side of the interface will reveal information about the location currently under the cursor.

The status area for each location of interest may contain one or two colored words, and maybe the name of a gem. The colors of the words match the background colors of the locations in the world, and indicate direction. The colored words are clues to a 3D criss cross puzzle formed by the locations in the world, with red words indicating an answer should be filled in horizontally, green verticaly, and blue in the Z up/down direction.

All of the clue words are vocabulary words that are defined in all four of the Dwarf Fortress languages: Dwarven, Elvish, Goblin, and Human. Based on translation length and criss-cross constraints, the solver must figure out which translation should be filled into the puzzle.

For example, the word “loyal” has four five-letter translations: “damèl” in Dwarven, “oyéle” in Elvish, “ezusp” in Goblin, and “omosh” in Human. The first letter of the translation for “dive” intersects with the fourth letter of the translation for “loyal,” and “dive” has three six-letter translations: “shoduk” in Dwarven, “fayoba” in Elvish, and “lustot” in Goblin. So we can eliminate “fayoba” because none of the translations for “loyal” contain an F as their fourth letter, and we can eliminate “damèl” because none of the translations for “dive” start with è.

The entire puzzle can be resolved in this way, and you can navigate the grid with all of the translation letters filled in below:

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To extract an answer from the puzzle, take the letter associated with the location of each gem, and order these letters alphabetically by gem name. This spells out the phrase “akera English.” Looking up “akera” in the Dwarf Fortress language list reveals the answer is DIAMOND.

Clue word Language Translation Gem Letter under gem
sugar Human duka aventurine A
to broil Goblin kusmke banded agate K
basis Elvish esame chrysoprase E
released Human sasir dendritic agate R
simplicity Goblin smästa emerald A
boulder Dwarven etur fire agate E
coast Goblin asngek gold opal N
hall Goblin ngug heliodor G
rabbit Human obler indigo tourmaline L
buff Elvish mitho jelly opal I
malice Dwarven ezost kunzite S
suffering Dwarven omshit lapis lazuli H